Plea Bargain – a negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to one of multiple charges, usually in exchange for a more lenient sentence or dismissal of other charges

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plea bargain:
n. (1963
)

1. A negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and a criminal defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser offense or to one of multiple charges in exchange for some concession by the prosecutor, usually a more lenient sentence or a dismissal of the other charges. — aka plea agreement; negotiated plea; sentence bargain. — plea-bargain, vb. — plea-bargaining, n. [1]

1. An agreement between the prosecutor and a criminal defendant under which the accused agrees to plead guilty, usually to a lesser offense, in exchange for receiving a lighter sentence than he would likely have received had he been found guilty after trial on the original charge. [3]

  • charge bargain (1890) 1. Criminal law. A plea bargain whereby a prosecutor agrees to drop some of the counts or reduce the charge to a less serious offense in exchange for a plea of either guilty or no contest from the defendant.  2. An agreement made before criminal charges are filed whereby a prosecutor allows a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge or only some of the charges in exchange for dismissal of the higher or remaining charges.  See Bousley v. U.S., 523 U.S. 614, 635, 118 S.Ct. 1604, 1612 (1998). — aka count bargain.
    • cop a plea vb. (1914) Slang. (Of a criminal defendant) to plead guilty to a lesser charge as a means to avoid standing trial for a more serious offense.
    • fact bargain – An agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant stipulates that some facts are true in exchange for the prosecutor’s not introducing certain other facts into evidence.
  • sentence bargain (1972) An agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant promises to plead guilty or no contest to the stated charge in return for a lighter sentence.  *  Usually a judge must approve the bargain.

References:

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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

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