What are the areas of negotiation in plea bargaining?

When a New Jersey resident has charged with a crime they do have options. Depending on the situation, plea bargaining is one of them. There are different areas of negotiation for a plea bargain.


A plea bargain is an opportunity offered to a defendant in a criminal case to admit their guilt in court when the evidence is strong. It  gives the person a chance to avoid having their case go to trial, usually while reducing their sentence. In this situation, the judge, rather than a jury, issues a sentence to the defendant.


There are three types of negotiations in plea bargaining that can apply in a criminal case. Charge bargaining is the most common and occurs when the defendant pleads to a lesser crime in exchange for
the more serious charges being dismissed. For example, if a person’s actions caused the death of another individual, a plea bargain involving charge bargaining could reduce their charges from murder to manslaughter.

Sentence bargaining is similar to charge bargaining, but it doesn’t change the criminal charges against the defendant. Instead, the person’s plea bargain gets them a lesser sentence. The rarest type of negotiation in plea bargaining is fact bargaining. When it’s used, the defendant agrees to some information obtained by the prosecution in exchange for other information being withheld during the case. Fact bargaining has a twofold benefit for both sides:

  • The defendant benefits because some details about the crime are not released while the prosecution benefits because it gets them less work.
  • Plea bargaining is not always wise. Depending on the circumstances of the case, there could be unseen consequences. As a result, careful consideration is necessary before agreeing to a plea bargain.

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