plea bargaining


plea bar·​gain·​ing ˈplē-ˌbär-gə-niŋ How to pronounce plea bargaining (audio)
: the negotiation of an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant is permitted to plead guilty to a reduced charge
plea-bargain intransitive verb
plea bargain noun

Examples of plea bargaining in a Sentence

As a result of plea bargaining, he would not be sentenced to death.
Recent Examples on the Web Enhancements are often dropped during the plea bargaining stage in Canyon County, court records show. Rachel Spacek, Idaho Statesman, 25 Jan. 2024 In the federal system, judges are not allowed to have any discussion about plea bargaining with the parties. Cynthia Alkon, The Conversation, 23 Oct. 2023 Prosecutors rely on plea bargaining at times to strengthen their cases by offering deals contingent on a defendant agreeing to testify against another person. Cynthia Alkon, The Conversation, 23 Oct. 2023 Burnham said Eastman is not involved with plea bargaining. Rachel Weiner, Amy B Wang, Tom Jackman, Jacqueline Alemany, Holly Bailey and Spencer S. Hsu, The Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Aug. 2023 Then comes the trial or plea bargaining process. Christopher Cann, Orlando Sentinel, 31 Mar. 2023 The law requires or encourages this consideration during plea bargaining, sentencing or resentencing in an effort to account for the trauma a person experienced before being arrested that may have helped lead to their crimes. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 2 Feb. 2023 Here's what the study found: How often did plea bargaining happen? Ashley Luthern, Journal Sentinel, 6 Dec. 2022 That quotation came from Judge Jackson’s undergraduate college thesis, which criticized the plea bargaining system. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plea bargaining.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1932, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of plea bargaining was in 1932

Dictionary Entries Near plea bargaining

Cite this Entry

“Plea bargaining.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

plea bargaining

: the negotiation of an agreement between the prosecution and the defense whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offense or to one or some of multiple offenses usually in exchange for more lenient sentencing recommendations, a specific sentence, or dismissal of other charges
plea-bargain intransitive verb
plea bargain noun

More from Merriam-Webster on plea bargaining

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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