Not all criminal charges result in a person having to sit through a jury trial. Many criminal cases are resolved through the use of plea bargains. There are many benefits and drawbacks of these agreements for both sides.
You have to think carefully before you decide to accept a plea deal. One reason for this is that you have to plead guilty to specific criminal charges in exchange for what the prosecution is offering for the deal. This means that if you didn't actually commit the crime, a plea bargain isn't the way you should resolve your case. Here are some other points to think about when it comes to plea deals:
Benefits to you
A plea bargain gives you some control over the outcome of the case. There are different areas that you can work on with a plea bargain. You might be able to get a deal that has a lesser sentence than what you would face in a trial. In some cases, you might be able to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Some plea bargains deal with evidence in the case, but this type isn't commonly used.
Benefit to the court
The court benefits from plea bargains because they can open up space on the docket for other cases. This can help to prevent the criminal justice system from becoming more congested than it already is. A plea deal can also help the judges to focus on the more serious cases.
Benefit to the prosecution
Prosecutors often allow plea bargains because of the massive workload they face. By getting some of the cases resolved in this manner, they have a record of successfully dealing with criminal actions without having to drain funding for the department on one case. The prosecution won't have to worry about producing evidence and finding witnesses that might be necessary if the case does go to a jury trail.
Downfall to plea deals
One thing that has to be considered regarding plea deals is that defendants who aren't guilty might end up pleading guilty just to get the case over with. Making sure that this doesn't happen is a concern for everyone involved. However, it is highly unlikely that every case like this could be caught. Another downfall to plea deals is that some victims' family members might feel as though the defendant got out of having to face the serious penalties they think are warranted in the case.