Plea Agreements and Bargains


Everyday across the U.S., countless people are found guilty of a crime, or multiple crimes. However, most of these cases do not go to trial. Instead, criminal cases that end in a person being convicted of a crime/s, are usually a direct result of plea bargaining. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and prosecutor of a case. Usually, the defendant pleas guilty to a lesser charge, or to only one of several charges in exchange to drop other charges, or for a more lenient sentencing. This article discusses the significance of plea bargaining, as well as diversion programs.

Significance of Plea Bargaining

            Plea bargaining is popular because it avoids both parties going to trial, which can be costly on both ends. By accepting a plea bargain, a defendant can avoid spending excess amounts of money on defending themselves. For example, the defendant will be saving on attorney fees. They can also avoid the uncertainty that going to trial brings. When a defendant accepts a plea bargain, they do not have to testify in court because there is no trial. Plea bargaining avoids the maximum sentence for a conviction and provides a more favorable sentencing.

            Plea bargaining is also beneficial to the prosecutors and the courts in the case. Similar to the defendant, the prosecutor avoids going to trial, which can become time consuming and labor intensive, with no definite outcome. Typically, prosecutors have multiple cases on their plate at once, which often results in not enough attention being put into each individual case. Through a plea bargain, prosecutors have a guarantee that some form of penalty is given to the defendant, without having to spend time in preparation and trial to prove them guilty.

Diversion Programs

            An alternative resolution to plea bargaining in a criminal case is entering a diversion program. A diversion program is when the defendant avoids a criminal conviction and going to jail. The penalty a defendant receives after accepting a plea bargain varies on the nature and extent of the crime, meaning they can potentially face jail time. A diversion program on the other hand, allows the defendant to avoid going to trial and jail, if they meet the necessary requirements of the program. This is especially beneficial to cases that involve less serious, non-violent crimes. For example: possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and shoplifting.  

            Diversion programs focus on rehabilitating the defendant through restitution services based on the nature of their alleged criminal offenses. Each diversion program is different and has its own set of rules and requirements. For example, a diversion program tailored for drug offenses may involve constant drug testing, completing a drug program, status updates to an Officer and maintaining employment. On the other hand, a diversion program tailored for driving under the influence may involve completing an alcohol program, passing a drivers safety course, and driving with an ignition interlock device.

At The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC, our lawyer has years of experience helping clients overcome a wide range of legal barriers. With our attorney by your side, you can navigate this process with efficiency and confidence.

Request your free initial consultation by calling 1 (917) 338-7678 or sending us an online message today.