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Why some judges and prosecutors prefer plea bargains

Texas residents who have heard of plea bargains might wonder who benefits in addition to the defendant. One reason both prosecutors and judges might prefer a plea bargain in some cases is because it reduces the number of trials they must participate in. Both prosecutors and judges have busy calendars, and a plea bargain allows them to focus that time on more serious cases. Similarly, a plea bargain, which usually comes with reduced penalties, frees up prison space for people who are facing more serious charges.

From a prosecutor's point of view, a plea bargain may also be desirable because it counts as a conviction but uses less time and fewer resources. Many prosecutors might be working with a limited budget and staff. Furthermore, even with the best evidence, a prosecutor cannot be certain that a jury will be convinced, and what seems like an airtight case can be lost. A judge may also look more favorably upon a prosecutor who negotiates effective plea bargains.

From a judge's point of view, a plea bargain represents a compromise that both parties have reached together. This increases the likelihood of compliance.

For a person who is facing a criminal charge, a plea bargain may be one of the options available. A defendant is not obligated to accept a plea bargain, and whether or not to do so may depend upon a number of factors including the nature of the charges, the evidence and if the defendant has a prior criminal record. While the defense attorney might recommend accepting it, the choice is solely that of the defendant.

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