Plea Bargains

A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter sentence. While a defendant can request a plea bargain, the decision to offer one is solely in the hands of the prosecution. Once a plea bargain is met, is it generally put on the record, either orally or in writing, and cannot be rescinded by either party. While state law varies, a plea bargain usually results in the prosecutor either agreeing to recommend a lighter sentence to the court; requesting that the court drop one or several charges against the defendant; or agreeing not to oppose the defendant’s requested sentence.

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What is a no contest plea?

A no contest plea is a plea used in criminal proceedings as an alternative to a guilty or not guilty plea, where the defendant neither disputes nor admits to doing the crime. This type of plea, also known as nolo contendere, literally means “I do not wish to contend.” A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as a criminal conviction by the court which hands down sentencing. The plea shows up on the defendant’s criminal record.

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