Many courts in the U.S. are burdened by a backlog of cases that have yet to reach a verdict. To expedite the process behind certain proceedings, many cases today have the option of reaching a “plea bargain” agreement. In this resolution, both parties agree on certain arrangements that are usually less severe than what the court may have in mind. However, take note that not all cases, as well as charges, are eligible for a plea bargain.
Nolo.com cites three factors for a plea bargain to be the most viable resolution. First, the crime must not be serious enough to warrant severe punishment from the law. Second, the evidence must not be strong enough for the court to find a person guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Lastly, the likelihood of the person being found guilty must not be too strong.
In most cases, however, courts push through with plea bargains because they're overburdened by the amount of backlogs. Experts say only a tenth of criminal cases filed in the country proceed to trial. As long as the judicial system has lots of unresolved cases stuck in limbo, plea bargains may as well be a viable alternative to a lengthy and costly judicial process.