What are the various forms of plea bargaining? Under what conditions would each be used?
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A plea bargain is an agreement between the offender and the prosecutor whereby, the offender pleads guilty so that he/she can receive a lesser sentence. The different forms of plea bargaining are charge bargaining, count bargaining and sentence bargaining.
A plea bargain is basically an agreement between the offender and the prosecutor whereby, the offender pleads guilty so that he/she can receive a lesser sentence. In this case, the offender pleads guilty to one or more charges in exchange of a more lenient sentence. The different forms of plea bargaining include:
Charge Bargaining: It is mainly used on condition that the offender agrees to plead guilty to a less serious offense than the one originally committed. In other words, the offender confesses to a less serious crime among other crimes he might have committed so that other serious charges against him are dropped. For instance, if an offender is charged for committing both trespass to property and robbery, he can confess to have committed a trespass and then the charges of robbery are dropped. Therefore, the sentence will be a shorter one. Another example would be pleading to manslaughter instead of murder. In this case, the offender is punished a lesser sentence since manslaughter does not include the motive to kill.
Count Bargaining: It is used in conditions where the offender pleads guilty to a fewer number of charges. In this case, the offender is charged with many offenses and then the prosecutor may decide to dismiss one or more charges (counts) against the offender. Unlike charge bargaining, count bargaining is not based on the extent of the seriousness of the multiple crimes.
Sentence Bargaining: It is used in situations where the offender pleads guilty and is aware that the sentence must be given. Before going to trial, the offender must admit that he has committed an offense so that both parties can agree on the favorable sentence to be given.