The criminal justice system can be confusing for New Jersey residents, as many people do not always understand the sentences some people receive after convictions. There are times when those expecting an offender to get a harsh penaltyare disappointed because plea bargaining allows for a lesser sentence. While this can upset a victim or relatives, plea bargaining is a necessary tool.
Plea bargaining resolves the majority of criminal cases in most courts around the country, and attorneys believe that the process is essential since there are not enough resources to bring each case to trial. Plea bargains give defendants incentive to plead guilty. In exchange for a guilty plea, a prosecutor might dismiss other charges or agree to ask for lenient sentencing.
When deciding whether or not to make a plea offer, the prosecution considers things like the severity of a crime, the strength of the case and evidence and the history of the defendant. Prosecutors want to hold the responsible parties accountable but must consider the likelihood of winning a trial. In some cases, prosecutors might offer a plea deal because they are worried about important evidence being suppressed in court. Cases that are considered high-profile or that go to a jury trial can be very expensive for taxpayers.
Though some have misgivings about plea bargaining, this method offers benefit both to those who have received drug charges and to the prosecution. Some who face charges might agree to diversion or probation instead of going to trial. A plea bargain also lets a defendant agree to a deal instead of risking a harsher penalty in a jury trial, and one may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney when accused of a crime.