The trial of criminal proceedings is a long and costly process. After all, both state resources (the work of the court, the prosecutor) and the funds of the suspect, the accused (engagement of a lawyer, arrival at the court) are spent. Therefore, a new institution was created to help the court — plea agreements. 

How is it applied in practice?

Plea agreements are possible in cases of criminal offenses, minor and serious crimes, etc. This also applies to corruption crimes, for example, offering a bribe to an official. 

Both the prosecutor and the suspect/accused have the right to initiate the agreement. There is a set time for this — from the moment the suspicion is announced — until the judges enter the deliberation room to pass the verdict. 

The case of ex-MP Oleksandr Trukhin, who had offered a bribe to police officers, gained sufficient publicity. His defense has initiated a plea agreement, so now Trukhin has to pay a fine and donate to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Agreements relating to corruption cases will work when approved by the High Anti-Corruption Court. After that, the court will pass a guilty verdict. 

What does it mean to make a deal with the investigation? 

A plea agreement is a legal “compromise” between the prosecution and the suspect. So that the parties do not abuse this right, there are safeguards that are carefully checked by the court. Thus, the terms of the agreement must meet the interests of society. It depends on the severity of the crime and how public and private interests relate. Of course, the agreement should not violate the rights, freedoms, or interests of the parties, the voluntariness of the conclusion of the agreement, and other circumstances.

By entering into an agreement, the parties may agree on the punishment, the amount of damages to be compensated, and the conditions under which the punishment will not take place. For example, these are the so-called suspended sentences (in accordance with Article 75, part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). 

Recently, the practice of the accused/convicted donating to the Armed Forces of Ukraine has become widespread. Thus, Oleksandr Trukhin will pay UAH 6 mln for the army; so far, the current mayor of Poltava, Mamai, who also concluded an agreement with the investigation, has pledged to donate UAH 2 mln. 

The suspended sentence and generous donations do not absolve the conviction and all its consequences (for example, dismissal from public service or loss of mandate) of the accused. After the conclusion of the agreement, it is no longer possible to appeal the verdict on a general basis.

If the agreement is not fulfilled as a result, then the trial or pre-trial investigation will resume, and the accused, if they broke the agreement intentionally, will face criminal liability.

The suspended sentence and donations for the AFU do not absolve the conviction and all its consequences (for example, dismissal from public service or loss of mandate) of the accused.