If you are preparing to go to court, it’s important to know about criminal defense regulations so you can raise your chances of winning your case. If you’re an Alabama resident, here are some important things to know about plea agreements.
Entering into a plea agreement
In a criminal defense case, the defendant (or the defendant’s lawyer) and the prosecutor may have a discussion to reach an agreement that a guilty plea be entered for the charged offense or a lesser offense. Once the plea is entered, the prosecutor will move that the other charges be dismissed, will not oppose the suspension of a sentence, or both.
Plea agreement disclosure
If the parties come to a plea agreement, the court will require that the agreement be disclosed in open court before the plea is offered. The court can accept or reject the plea agreement or delay its decision until the presentence report is received.
Accepting or rejecting the plea agreement
If the court accepts the agreement in a criminal defense case, the court, in compliance with Rule 14.4, should inform all involved parties that it will sentence the provided disposition in the plea agreement.
If the court rejects the agreement, the court will inform all parties and advise the prosecutor and defendant in person. The court must also advise the defendant that if the defendant enters a guilty plea, the case disposition may be more or less in favor of the defendant than what was contemplated by the original plea agreement. The court will also give the defendant the chance to withdraw their guilty plea and afford the prosecutor the option of changing recommendations for the case outcome.