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Bucher Law Group, LLC

When Are Plea Bargains Used in the Wisconsin Criminal Justice System?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Ozaukee County criminal defense attorney

Sometimes, the only thing people know about the criminal justice system is what they have seen in movies and on television. In many of those fictional cases, the offender ends up going to trial, and the defendant’s attorney fights to get him or her free. What most people do not know is that the majority of real-life criminal cases actually do not go to trial. Most of the time, the defense and the prosecution are able to work out some sort of deal for the defendant to plead guilty, who then receives a lesser punishment in exchange for the guilty plea. Similar to a settlement in a civil case, this is called a plea bargain, and it is regularly used in the criminal justice system. 

What Is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement that is made between the defendant’s lawyer and the prosecutor to settle a criminal case, rather than taking that case to trial. Most of the time, the plea agreement involves the defendant pleading guilty in order to receive a less severe sentence. There are three main types of plea bargains:

  • Charge bargaining: This type of plea bargain involves the defendant pleading guilty to a less serious crime than the one with which he or she was originally charged.

  • Count bargaining: This type of plea bargain involves the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser number of charges, rather than the full number of offenses that were originally charged.

  • Sentence bargaining: This type of plea bargain involves a defendant pleading guilty to the crime in exchange for a lesser sentence.

Is Plea Bargaining a Good Idea?

There has been some controversy surrounding the idea of plea bargaining in the United States. Some say that plea bargaining forces defendants to plead guilty when they are in fact not guilty, all in an effort to receive a reduced sentence. However, many people recognize the benefits a plea bargain can have in criminal cases, which include:

  • Avoiding jail time

  • Reducing the severity of charges, such as a felony to a misdemeanor

  • Knowing the outcome of the case

  • Lowering the sentence of a crime

  • Resolving a criminal case quickly

Contact a Racine County Criminal Defense Attorney 

Being charged with a crime can be a frightening situation that impacts all areas of your life. Depending on the offense, you could be facing jail time, fines, probation, or other consequences. At the Bucher Law Group, LLC, we understand the role that plea bargaining has in the criminal justice system, and we can help you determine what is the best option for your case. Contact our knowledgeable Milwaukee County criminal defense lawyers today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/pleabargaining/

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/971/09

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/971/08

 

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