Did you know that more than 90% of all criminal convictions are a result of plea bargains? This means that less than 10% of all criminal cases actually end up on trial in front of a jury. Plea bargains are extremely common in the criminal defense industry. It is highly likely that no matter the nature of the crime the courts are charging you with, a plea bargain will be a part of the process.
Whether or not it is smart for you to accept a plea bargain as the defendant depends upon your particular case and what the prosecution is offering you. However, there are benefits to plea bargaining for the prosecution and the judge, as well. According to FindLaw, plea bargains help judges with scheduling and prosecutors with convicting.
How plea bargains benefit judges
The major benefit to a plea bargain is that it means the judge does not need to schedule and hold a trial for that particular case. Given that the majority of judges are already working from an overcrowded court calendar, or “docket,” being able to skip a trial is key.
Additionally, most judges are very well aware that prisons are overcrowded. Judges are usually very keen to “process out” offenders with low-level crimes.
How plea bargains benefit prosecutors
Similar to judges, play bargaining can help a prosecutor’s overcrowded schedule. However, plea bargains also represent a conviction, even if the conviction is for a lesser crime. Even in the event that the prosecution has very strong evidence, this is not necessarily a guarantee that a trial will go in the prosecution’s favor.