Meaning of plea bargaining

plea' bar"gaining

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. 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.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.