Prosecutors are often willing to "deal" a case due to their heavy caseloads or problems with evidence or witnesses. Sometimes they'd rather have a conviction on lesser charges than risk losing at trial.
What do you get in exchange for pleading guilty or "no contest"?
Defendants rarely plead guilty without first reaching agreement with the prosecution.
Can a judge refuse to accept a “no contest” or nolo contendere plea?
In many places, judges must consent to defendants entering no-contest (or nolo contendere) pleas.
Pleading Guilty While Saying You're Innocent
Some defendants maintain their innocence but want to plead guilty to avoid trial. Learn about their options here.
Defendants can sometimes plead guilty, and appeal nevertheless.
How Plea Bargains Get Made
Many cynics argue that like laws and sausages, plea bargains are best made out of public view. Read on and make up your own mind.
Why Judges and Prosecutors Engage in Plea Bargaining
Moving cases along, and making sure that there's room in the jails and prisons for truly bad actors, are two reasons why plea bargaining is part of the system.
Withdrawing a Guilty Plea
Judges allow defendants to withdraw guilty pleas in only limited situations.
Ineffective Representation in Plea Bargains
People are often unhappy with their lawyers' performance, particularly when it comes to plea bargaining. Learn what has to happen to win an argument that your lawyer's failures got you a bad outcome.
Pleading Guilty: What Happens in Court
Once the deal is worked out, the prosecution and defense will arrange a court hearing and inform the judge about the agreement.
How Judges Accept and Reject Plea Deals
The short answer is yes.