The overwhelming majority of criminal cases don't go to trial—they end in plea deals. But plea bargains involve lots of variations and factors to consider.
Pleading Guilty While Saying You're Innocent
A defendant who claims to be innocent but doesn’t want to risk going to trial can sometimes take what has become known as an Alford plea, named after the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina v. Alford. (400 U.S. 25 (1970).)
Believe it or not, the prosecution and defense occasionally agree (more or less) on the facts underlying criminal charges.
What is an open plea?
In a typical case, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest in return for the prosecution’s agreement that in return for the prosecution's agreement that it will recommend a certain sentence.