Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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How plea bargains work

When a person in New Jersey is charged with a crime, there are several ways that the case may be resolved. One of these is by going to trial. Another is through what is referred to as a plea bargain. The American Bar Association explains that a plea bargain is essentially an out-of-court agreement between a defense and a prosecution. Attorneys generally work together to come to the agreement but defendants must certify that they have been part of the process and that they voluntarily agree to the terms of the agreement.

A plea bargain can be initiated by either a defense attorney or a prosecutor. A common scenario in a plea bargain includes a defendant pleading guilty to a reduced charge. When a defendant has been charged with multiple crimes, a plea bargain may include a guilty plea for one charge in exchange for dismissal of other charges.

The New Jersey Courts explains that defendants can generally expect to receive more lenient sentences by entering into a plea bargain than without. It is important to note that a judge does not have to accept every plea bargain. If a particular judge feels that an agreement is not fair for any reason, an order for a new agreement or for a trial can be made.

Many people favor plea bargains over the uncertainty of a full trial for several reasons. For both defense and prosecution teams, the time and cost involved in coming to a resolution is greatly reduced when compared to the time and money involved in a trial. Courts welcome plea bargains as they reduce the general case load of the system.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
514 Brick Boulevard, Suite 6
Brick, NJ 08723

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