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Are there different types of plea bargains?

Assuming that you are facing criminal charges in the state of Maryland, you are likely attempting to explore every option at your disposal. This is a notion that some defendants fail to consider because they think they have little to no control over the outcome of their cases. This is not always so as the law provides both the criminal defense team and the prosecution team with options that benefit both sides.

Plea bargaining is a very valuable tool in criminal cases. They allow the defendant to save time and money by avoiding a trial, and they free up overcrowded and overburdened courts. There are three types of plea bargains:

— Charge bargaining is the most common form of a plea bargain. It works by a defendant agreeing to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge while the prosecution agrees to dismiss a more serious charge. Example: Manslaughter instead of murder.

— Sentence bargaining is possible in some situations but it can be difficult to get the courts to agree. If allowed, sentence bargaining means that the defendant will enter a plea of guilty to his or her charges but will receive a more lenient sentence.

— The third type of plea bargain is fact bargaining, but it is very rare to find a court that will approve. It works by allowing the defendant to admit to certain aspects or facts of the case so that other facts may be withheld from evidence.

While a good criminal defense attorney is always prepared to fight for you in court, he or she will also make sure you are aware of other options such as entering into a plea agreement. The lawyer you choose should also be able to advise you about which option may be the best choice for your unique situation.

Source: FindLaw, “Plea Bargains: In Depth,” accessed Dec. 08, 2016

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