Criminal Law:

Plea Bargain

Most criminal cases are resolved through a "plea bargain", usually well before the case reaches trial. In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty, typically to a lesser charge than one for which the defendant could stand trial, in exchange for a more lenient sentence, and/or so that certain related charges are dismissed. For both the government and the defendant, the decision to enter into a plea bargain may be based on the seriousness of the alleged crime, the strength of the evidence in the case, and the possibility of a guilty verdict at trial. Plea bargains are encouraged by the court system, and have become something of a necessity due to overburdened criminal court calendars and overcrowded jails.

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