When charged with a crime, criminal laws state that you are not guilty of the crime until the court proves you are, and this often occurs through a criminal trial. Going through a criminal trial is risky, though, and it is also time-consuming and overwhelming; many defendants will accept plea bargains prior to their trials simply to avoid going through the trial process. If you are facing charges that you did not commit, you might want to accept a plea bargain instead, even though you are innocent.
How a plea bargain works
Accepting a plea bargain in a criminal case ultimately means that you agree to plead guilty in the matter. The charges you plead guilty to might be reduced from the original charges, but you are definitely admitting guilt in the matter to some degree. The downside to this is the guilt you must admit. The benefit, though, is the ability to avoid going through a trial. With a plea, you settle right away, and your case is basically over as soon as the judge accepts your plea.
Reasons to accept a plea even if you are innocent
The question you might have is why someone would want to use a plea bargain if the person did not commit the crime, and this is a great question to ask. The truth in this is that it is much easier, faster, and less risky to use a plea bargain rather than go through a trial.
A plea bargain gives you a resolution and conclusion to the case right away. A plea bargain gives you a lesser charge than the original charge, so it gives you a lesser punishment than the punishment you could potentially receive from a trial. A plea bargain also eliminates the risk that the court will find you guilty of the original charges.
The main reason people choose plea bargains when innocent is simply because there is less risk and less to lose than what there is with a criminal trial. Suppose you chose to go through a trial and the jury found you guilty of the crime, even though you did not commit it. You would have a harsher charge on your record and face a harsher consequence. This is why innocent people accept plea bargains.
If you know for a fact that you are innocent and have enough evidence to prove it, you might be better off going through a trial; however, you should not make this decision without consulting with a criminal defense attorney first.