plea bargaining

an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant is allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge rather than risk conviction for a graver crime in order to avoid a protracted trial or to win the defendant's cooperation as a witness.

1960–65, Americanism Unabridged


verb (used without object)
to engage in plea bargaining.
verb (used with object)
to deal with or achieve by plea bargaining: to plea-bargain a reduced sentence.
the agreement arrived at as a result of plea bargaining.


plea-bargainer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To plea bargaining
World English Dictionary
plea bargaining
law an agreement between the prosecution and defence, sometimes including the judge, in which the accused agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for more serious charges being dropped

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
Plea bargaining provides another tool to extract evidence.
With plea bargaining, defendants are under huge pressure to plead guilty.
Plea bargaining should not be acceptable in this case.
Stronger sentences for violent crimes and less plea bargaining.
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