Plea Bargaining

Plea-bargaining is a process by which the prosecutor and defense attorney negotiate to resolve a case without a trial, usually by reducing the charge and thereby the sentence involved. Generally, the prosecutor will ask the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid being tried on a more serious charge, or to plead guilty to one of multiple charges to avoid being tried on all the charges. In exchange, the prosecutor promises to recommend to the judge that the negotiated sentence be imposed. The judge is the only one who can decide what the sentence will be (subject to limits set by law) and all bargains must be approved by the judge.