A plea bargain is an out-of-court agreement made between the accused and the prosecution. It generally offers some type of deal for the accused that may be better than what may result if the person goes to trial.
Plea bargains are not mandatory. The prosecutor does not have to offer them, but because going to trial is not always a guaranteed win, the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain to get a conviction.
One of the important aspects of a plea bargain is that you must admit your guilt if you take it. While the prosecutor may lower the charges against you or even drop some charges, whatever remains, you must plead guilty. You are taking the deal provided in exchange for saying you did the crime.
The prosecutor may have limitations on what he or she can offer you. For example, if you are up on a first-degree murder charge, the prosecutor is not going to offer you a deal where you do no jail time. This does not make sense or align with the law.
Generally, what the prosecutor offers depends on how strong his or her case is. For example, if the prosecutor does not have strong evidence and is not sure he or she could get a conviction at trial, the deal may be very much in your favor. However, if the prosecutor has a strong case, the plea bargain may not be that great, or the prosecutor may not even offer one.
Plea bargains are an option that helps free up the court system. By extending this offer, the court may be able to avoid a costly and time-consuming trial. In addition, it may be advantageous for you because you never know what could happen at trial, but you will know exactly what the results will be from the deal.