Plea bargains are a very useful tool for prosecutors even though they often do not want to admit it. They are all politicians to some degree and depend on public perception as a community protector when it comes to charging those who are truly a danger to society. This is assuredly the case in a state like Texas which has a significant crime problem in certain locations. But the truth is that the system would be even more log-jammed than it is with respect to docket caseloads and the time it takes to adjudicate any defendant regardless of the right to a “speedy” trial that is a constitutional guarantee. And criminal defense attorneys can use this as negotiation leverage in many instances.
It is not unusual for a prosecutor to file the highest charge they can level based on supporting material evidence. This gives them some latitude in shifting a charge downward when a criminal defense strategy posits that the defendant has been excessively charged by questionable evidence. In addition, a plea bargain even in a serious or obvious criminal situation can help the court better utilize their time as much as possible with respect to quicker case adjudication.
Deferments and dismissals
As an alternate to a guilty plea, some prosecutors are receptive to bargaining for case deferments and even dismissal when there is insufficient evidence to convict a defendant in a trial. While the criminal defense argument will always be for a dismissal, prosecutors tend to be more acceptable to a case deferment or diversion agreement.
Case diversion is actually a growing trend among many state court systems. However, not all prosecutors are open to case negotiations for those with a significant criminal history or in very serious cases where public safety could be a real concern.