Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining, also known as plea negotiation, is the process through which criminal defendants plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Plea bargaining can take place at any point during a criminal proceeding, from when charges are filed all the way up until sentencing. In some cases, plea bargains may be negotiated before any indictment or arrest takes place; however most commonly occur after arrest but before indictment or trial by jury begins.


  • Reduced sentence. The main benefit of plea bargaining is reduced charges and/or sentences, which is why defendants often agree to a deal. In many cases, they may be facing harsher penalties if they go to trial than if they take a plea bargain.
  • Reduced charges. Prosecutors and defendants can agree on lesser charges that aren’t as serious as those originally filed against them; this also means less time behind bars or on probation if convicted of these charges at trial.
  • Reduced court costs. Defendants who accept pleas can avoid having their trials delayed when witnesses fail to show up or other complications arise in the case (for example, an expert witness has not yet reviewed all relevant documents). And because there’s no jury involved in most criminal proceedings for defendants who plead guilty, there are usually fewer court days spent in total during each case than those involving full-blown trials.* Reduced stress for victims/witnesses who might have been called upon by prosecutors but ultimately weren’t needed during testimony against said defendant(s) after taking into account what both sides agreed upon before going forward with trial exhibits (e.,g., testimony from law enforcement officers). This could include victims being spared from reliving painful experiences associated with what occurred prior to trial due solely because prosecutors decided not use them as witnesses.* Reduced backlogs caused by excessive caseloads experienced by prosecutors’ offices across jurisdictions worldwide where plea bargaining exists within judicial systems generally speaking; this includes reducing strain on courtrooms themselves such as overcrowding problems stemming from lack number judgeships available

Reduced sentence

  • Reduced sentence: This is the most common reason for plea bargaining. In some cases, a plea deal might be used to reduce a first time offender’s sentence or give them a lesser charge (like driving under the influence), but for repeat offenders and violent offenders, prosecutors may be more likely to use their bargaining power in exchange for testimony against another defendant.
  • Reduced charges: Another common reason for plea bargaining is reducing charges if it means that more serious charges don’t have to be filed. For example, if someone was caught driving drunk but they only had one drink before getting behind the wheel of their car (meaning they were not legally intoxicated), then it would make sense not charging them with DUI since they weren’t technically drunk.

Reduced charges

The reduced charges are a good thing. They can reduce the sentence that would have been given if the defendant was convicted of all charges, they can reduce stress on victims if they are only guilty of less serious offenses, and they can reduce court backlogs because fewer trials will be required. A higher conviction rate is also good for defendants because it means that their chances of being found guilty are greater than if they chose not to plead guilty.

Finally, plea bargaining allows for more resources to be allocated towards other cases in need of attention. While this may seem like an obvious benefit for everyone involved, some people argue against plea bargaining because it can lead to unequal treatment based on race or class (since these things affect how likely someone is to receive a plea bargain).

Reduced court costs

Plea bargaining is also beneficial for governments, as it reduces costs for both the prosecution and defense. Because plea bargains typically require less time and money than trials do, they help reduce court backlogs. And because plea bargains allow prosecutors to focus their resources on more serious cases rather than those that are easy to resolve through a plea bargain, they can avoid wasting time and money on frivolous prosecutions (for example, someone who doesn’t pose a threat).

Reduced stress for victims

A plea bargain can reduce the stress involved with going through a trial. For example, if your loved one was murdered and you have to testify in court against the person who did it, it can be very traumatic. With a plea bargain you don’t have to go through this trauma.

Reduced court backlog

  • Reduced court backlog. Many people are familiar with the concept of plea bargaining: reducing a criminal charge to a lesser charge and/or reducing the sentence for a crime in exchange for pleading guilty or no contest. However, few realize that these reduced charges or sentences may also help reduce the court backlog by freeing up time and resources for other cases. The more efficient your justice system is, the better chance you have at convicting criminals who have committed serious crimes so they can be held accountable for their actions.
  • Reduced stress for victims. A lot of people mistakenly believe that plea bargains are only beneficial to criminals since they offer reduced sentences or charges in exchange for giving up certain rights (e.g., right to trial), but this isn’t always true—in fact, it’s sometimes beneficial even though it doesn’t seem like it at first glance! For instance, if someone wanted revenge on someone else but then discovered later that they were wrong about what happened during their altercation (e..g., thought one person punched another but actually did not), then going through trial would cause unnecessary stress because they only wanted someone else punished instead of themselves being punished too; however this wouldn’t happen if both parties agreed beforehand how much time each party would spend behind bars so no one feels like They’re being treated unfairly.”

Increased conviction rate

Conviction rate is the number of convictions divided by the number of cases. Convictions are important because they mean that justice has been served. Conviction rates can be used to measure the effectiveness of the justice system and help determine if changes need to be made.

The increased conviction rate means that more criminals are being brought to justice, which is good for society as a whole. However, this may not be true in all cases because some innocent people have been convicted due to plea bargaining or other reasons in order to get a reduced sentence or lighter charges against them (see “Increased efficiency in the justice system”).

Increased efficiency in the justice system

This will be the main benefit that plea bargaining offers. An increase in efficiency in the justice system is important because it means that you can deal with more cases and reduce backlogs. This is particularly important if you are dealing with a high volume of cases, as is often the case when dealing with misdemeanors and other low-level offenses. It also reduces stress for both victims and defendants, which means there are fewer costs associated with litigation over minor crimes. Finally, plea bargaining increases conviction rates by making more criminals pay for their crimes rather than being found not guilty or having their charges dropped due to lack of evidence (which would happen if they went to trial).

Increased bargaining power for defendants

Plea bargaining can be seen as a way to avoid trial by jury. The defendant and the prosecutor will negotiate a deal between themselves, instead of having the case decided by a jury. This may be done in an effort to avoid going through the lengthy process of a trial or because it’s much easier for both sides to work out an agreement than it is for them to prove their cases before a jury.

More certainty in outcome

Plea bargaining can also be seen as a way to reduce the uncertainty of criminal proceedings. When someone enters a guilty plea, they are essentially admitting that they committed the crime in question. This means that there is no need for any trial by jury or judge and no need for further investigation into whether or not the defendant is actually guilty of committing the crime. As such, plea bargaining reduces the costs associated with investigating crimes and trying them in court, which can then be used on other cases where it may be more necessary.

Allows for more resources to be allocated to other cases

A plea bargain allows for more resources to be allocated to other cases. This can be good because it means that the court will have more resources available, so they can deal with other cases that are more serious and important. At the same time, it could also mean that judges will be able to devote fewer resources towards your case if you take a plea bargain instead of going through trial.


  • Cons

In order to get the most out of plea bargaining, you need to be aware of its potential drawbacks. It’s important to know what can happen if you’re not careful. Here are some of the cons:

  • It can be seen as unethical. In many ways, this is true; it does reward criminals for pleading guilty and makes it easier for them to escape punishment for their crimes. However, keep in mind that plea bargains are not only based on what a defendant pleads guilty to—they also take into account certain mitigating factors such as their mental state and criminal history (which might already include similar charges). Because there’s no guarantee that all defendants will receive the same treatment under a plea agreement system—even if they’ve committed the same crime—it becomes clear that there are other factors involved besides merely accepting responsibility or denying guilt altogether.
  • It could lead innocent people into pleading guilty when they should have taken their case before a jury instead (if they had one). This one’s easy enough: if someone has been falsely accused of committing a crime he/she didn’t commit and feels pressured into pleading guilty because he/she doesn’t want any more trouble from authorities…then yes! That would definitely be wrong! But even so…in general terms? If someone knows that he/she did something wrong then yes indeedy doodly dee hoo hoo teeheeheeheeheeeeheeeheeheeeeeeeeheeeee hahahahahaha haha laughed at myself too hard I’m sorry haaaaaa hahaaaaahaaaaaaaaahaaaahaaaahahahahahahhahaha oh god why am I laughing again

Can be seen as unethical

In the justice system, plea bargaining is the practice of offering a defendant a reduced sentence in exchange for pleading guilty and waiving his or her right to trial. The benefits of plea bargaining include reduced court costs, less stress on victims and witnesses, and more certainty in outcomes. However, it can also lead to wrongful convictions when defendants are pressured into accepting a deal that they do not want because they feel uncertain about their chances of winning at trial. Additionally, some people argue that it is unethical for prosecutors who have evidence sufficient enough to secure a conviction without the defendant’s cooperation—but not enough evidence to convict without first offering such cooperation—to offer deals contingent upon those agreements.

Can lead to innocent people pleading guilty

Plea bargaining can lead to innocent people pleading guilty.

  • A person who is innocent may plead guilty to a crime they didn’t commit in order to avoid going through the full trial process.
  • This can be seen as unethical because it allows or even encourages innocent people to plead guilty, thus enabling criminals and making it more likely that they will be convicted of crimes they did not commit.

“Can lead to unequal treatment”

Can discourage full investigation

The benefits of plea bargaining can be offset by the disadvantages. For example, there is often a lack of transparency in plea negotiations and agreements. Plea agreements are private and take place behind closed doors, with little oversight or accountability. The defense attorney may not fully investigate their client’s case so that they can use it as leverage in any potential plea deal with prosecutors, who may have limited resources to devote to each case. Similarly, prosecutors often do not know all the facts about a case before deciding whether or not to offer a plea agreement for that defendant. This leads to incomplete discovery and evidence as well as witness statements that might contradict each other if cross-examination were allowed at trial—both of which are important parts of ensuring fairness in prosecuting violent crimes such as murder charges against minors (Trial Rights Project).

Can be seen as a form of coercion

Plea bargaining can also be viewed as a form of coercion, since defendants often plead guilty to crimes they may not have committed. The ability to avoid trial by jury is another negative aspect of plea bargaining, since it prevents defendants from having their case heard by peers who could determine if they were guilty or not. Plea bargaining may also reduce due process rights in that the defendant’s right to appeal a conviction is reduced.

Can lead to unequal treatment

While plea bargaining can be beneficial, there is a potential for unequal treatment under this process. Some people will get better deals than others, depending on their lawyers and the quality of the evidence against them. If you are charged with a crime, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. The more experience your attorney has with these kinds of cases and with local judges (who might be involved in your case), the better he or she will be able to negotiate on your behalf.

Can be seen as rewarding criminals

You may be wondering why this is a con. After all, reducing the sentence or charges for criminals sounds like it would make them happier and less likely to reoffend. However, it can also be seen as rewarding criminals for their crimes. If someone commits a heinous crime or multiple crimes, then they deserve to go away for as long as possible. Shouldn’t they get all of the punishment possible?

Another problem with plea bargaining is that it can lead people who are innocent into pleading guilty just so they don’t have to endure a trial in front of the entire world where everyone knows their name (even if their name isn’t released). The repercussions of being seen as an alleged criminal are enough that many people will take whatever deal prosecutors offer them rather than risk spending years going through trial after trial while everyone thinks they’re guilty anyway—even though there’s no way anyone could know what happened until there was a trial!

Can be seen as a way to avoid accountability

Because plea bargaining is a way of avoiding trial, it might be seen as a way to avoid accountability. This is true because trials are held in public, with witnesses and evidence presented for all to see. In contrast, if you plead guilty and accept your punishment without going through a trial then there’s no one else involved in the process except for you and the judge who will decide on your sentence.

It’s also possible that plea bargains can lead to wrongful convictions because they happen so quickly after an arrest (which may or may not have been proper). If there isn’t enough time between arrest and trial then it would be easy for someone who was arrested wrongly to plead guilty simply because they didn’t want any more stress than they already had—and as such they wouldn’t take legal action against their accuser or even find out whether their accuser was telling the truth before accepting their punishment.

Can lead to wrongful convictions

But there are also some drawbacks to plea bargaining: It can lead to wrongful convictions. In fact, in the United States, 90 percent of convictions are based on guilty pleas. Some people plead guilty because they don’t want to face a trial. Some people plead guilty because they want to avoid a long sentence. Others do so because they don’t want to risk going to prison for their entire lives if the jury finds them guilty at trial and imposes an even longer sentence than what’s available through a plea deal (or if prosecutors threaten them with additional charges that could add more time).

Can be seen as a way to avoid trial by jury

Plea bargaining is often seen as a way to avoid the potentially lengthy and expensive process of jury trials. Jury trials can be expensive, time-consuming, and risky for prosecutors (who face losing cases). The jury pool may include people who are more concerned with their own interests than those of society (e.g., people who have been crime victims), or they may not be knowledgeable enough about the law or facts to properly judge a case. Jurors may also be influenced by news reports on previous casesaand this can cause bias in a new case’s outcome.

Can be seen as a way to avoid due process

Due process is an important part of our criminal justice system and ensures that all people have equal access to the justice system. Due process generally includes the right to know what one is charged with, the right to a fair trial by jury where guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, and more.


  • Allows for more resources to be allocated to other cases
  • More certainty in outcome


  • Can lead to innocent people pleading guilty
  • Can discourage full investigation


In conclusion, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves whether plea bargaining is the right choice for their situation. While you should always be aware of the pros and cons when considering this type of legal strategy, one thing that cannot be denied is that it has become an integral part of our justice system today because it serves as a way for defendants who are guilty but who might not have enough evidence against them (or perhaps due process rights) from going to trial in order to get a reduced sentence or other benefits such as less jail time or less charges being filed against them by prosecutors or judges depending on circumstances surrounding each case.