No two criminal cases unfold in the exact same manner. This holds true for many reasons. Everything from the type of crime to the location will dictate the manner in which a case moves forward.
The term "plea bargain" is thrown around by many people, however, some don't fully understand what this means. While not always true, a large number of criminal cases result in a plea bargain. This typically happens far in advance to the actual trial.
Here is a basic definition of plea bargain, as shared by FindLaw: "In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more charges (often to a lesser charge than one for which the defendant could stand trial) in exchange for a more lenient sentence (and/or so that certain related charges are dismissed)."
There are times when a plea bargain makes sense. For example, if a person can plead guilty to avoid the possibility of jail time, it may make sense to do so.
Conversely, this is not always the best strategy, especially if a person is adamant in the fact that they are innocent of committing a crime.
There is no way of knowing how a criminal case will work out, but one thing is almost always true: a plea bargain may be considered at some point along the way.
As somebody charged with a crime, it is important to understand the ins and outs of your case, including whether or not a plea bargain is a possibility. This may be something to consider, as there are many benefits when compared to going to trial. However, your attorney can provide more information.
Source: FindLaw, "Plea Bargain" accessed Mar. 10, 2015