Plea bargains are exceedingly common in all criminal cases, including high-level federal ones. In fact, it is almost 100% certain that the prosecution will give you some form of plea bargain during your federal criminal trial.
However, even though most people are familiar with the basics of a plea bargain, they are not aware that plea bargains can address different things. The areas of negotiation on plea bargains include charge, sentence and fact, as per FindLaw.
It is most unlikely for federal prosecutors to offer a fact bargain. This sort of bargain, as it says on the tin, has to do with the facts allowed in the trial. Typically, a fact bargain involves the defense allowing the prosecution to present something as a fact without having to prove it. In return, the prosecution does not introduce certain other facts that it can prove in a trial.
A “charge” bargain is the most common kind. This is what most people conjure in their heads when somebody mentions it. That is, the defendant will plead guilty to a lower charge in order to avoid a court case about a higher charge.
Sentence bargains relate to charge bargains, but only concern the sentence. In this case, the defendant will plead guilty to the original higher charge, but the prosecutors give a lower sentence.
It might or might not be a good idea to take a plea bargain in your particular federal court case. However, you should prepare for the prosecution to offer you one.
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