plea bargaining, negotiation in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a criminal charge in exchange for concessions by the prosecutor (representing the state). The defendant waives the right to trial, losing any chance for acquittal, but usually avoids conviction on a more serious charge. The state, on the other hand, is not required to go through a long, costly trial. Issues negotiated in plea bargaining include a reduction of the charge, a specific recommendation for sentence, or agreement by the prosecutor not to oppose a request for probation.
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