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plea bargaining

In law, plea bargaining is when a defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. The bargain in plea bargaining is struck between the defense and the prosecution.

When someone who's accused of a crime (with the help of an attorney) uses the technique of plea bargaining, it means the case is decided outside of the courtroom. Instead of a long trial with a judge and jury, plea bargaining reduces it to an arrangement between two lawyers. In the US, most criminal cases end up using plea bargaining. In law, a plea is an official "guilty" or "not guilty" statement that a defendant makes.

Definitions of plea bargaining
  1. noun
    (criminal law) a negotiation in which the defendant agrees to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to drop a more serious charge
    plea bargaining helps to stop the courts becoming congested”
    synonyms: plea bargain
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bargaining
    the negotiation of the terms of a transaction or agreement
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