Types Of Criminal Pleas

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What Is a Plea?

A plea is a defendant's answer to a factual matter. In criminal law, a plea is a defendant's formal response of guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge.

Types of Pleas

Plea Bargaining

A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case where the prosecutor and the defendant arrange to settle the case. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense, lesser punishment, or to a smaller number of offenses than originally charged.  Plea bargains are subject to the approval of the court.

The Court Must Consent to a Guilty or No Contest Plea

Withdrawing a Guilty or No Contest Plea

A defendant may withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest for any reason before the court accepts the plea. After the court accepts the plea, but before the court imposes sentencing, the defendant may withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest only if: 

After the court imposes a sentence, the defendant may not withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest.

Right to Appeal a Guilty or No Contest Plea

Generally, a defendant will waive his right to appeal the plea in the plea agreement. A defendant can appeal a plea agreement only if it was entered into involuntarily, unknowingly, or without knowledge of the consequences of the plea.

What Can You Do If You Are Accused of a Crime?

If you are accused of a crime, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

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Last Modified: 01-29-2014 10:21 AM PST

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