Criminal proceedings in many European states are increasingly being resolved via plea bargaining agreements; yet, there is relatively scant European research on the implications for the defendant or the role this practice plays within the criminal justice system. Using a sample of 1417 criminal cases, this paper examines how suspended prison sentences may be utilized in Spain to encourage or coerce defendants into a guilty plea. In addition to more traditional regression analysis, covariates are controlled through an entropy balancing process. [---]