The plea deal is one of the most important components of criminal justice system in America. In many criminal cases, the defense and the prosecution decide to not move forward with trial and instead enter a plea agreement. In a plea agreement, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, and the prosecution typically reduces or drops some of the charges. A plea agreement could mean that both sides agree to a certain sentence. In open court, the defendant must state what he or she is guilty of, and the law requires him or her to do so honestly.
If you are charged with a crime you did not commit, in some instances a plea deal may be your best option. Fortunately, the law allows you to enter a plea arrangement without admitting to guilt.
When a defendant pleads to no contest, he or she is not admitting guilt or innocence. Rather, the defendant is accepting that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that he or she committed the crime. In order to plead no contest, the prosecution must agree to the plea, the judge must allow it to be entered in, and the defendant must be advised about the consequences of pleading no contest.
Under an Alford Plea, a defendant pleads guilty while asserting his or her innocence and acknowledges that the prosecution can probably prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When the defense and prosecution tell the judge that the defendant is entering an Alford Plea, they are telling the court that the defendant wants to plead guilty but will not admit to committing any criminal acts and will maintain he is innocent.
Negotiating a no contest or Alford plea requires both sides to agree, and the criminal defense attorney you hire must make sure that the prosecutor will agree to the alternative plea. Both parties must sign a written plea agreement before going to court. The prosecutor is not required to accept an alternative plea, and it is important to note that in many cases, judges, victims, and the prosecutor will expect that the defendant will admit their guilt.
If you are facing criminal charges, or have been charged with a crime that you did not commit, you need to consult with a Raleigh, North Carolina criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will provide you with advice and guidance and will advise you on what your options are. For more information, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina such as Scharff Law Firm at (919) 457-1954 and learn about all of your options.