If you have hired a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, they can appear on your behalf in front of the Judge. The attorney can appear in front of the Judge to negotiate, to make an argument, and to present evidence. The attorney can also enter a not guilty plea on behalf of the person being charged and can set for trial. However, an attorney cannot enter a guilty plea on behalf of the person being charged unless that person is present in Court, or has signed and notarized what is referred to as a Tahl waiver.
When a person enters a guilty plea, they are waiving many important rights promised to them by the constitution. A Tahl waiver must be signed and initialed by any person entering a guilty plea. If they are present in court, the waiver does not need to be notarized. If the person cannot be present in Court, then the waiver must be notarized.
The Tahl waiver must be read and explained to the person entering the plea. It is important because they must understand each of their rights, and voluntarily and knowingly initial that they are waiving them. These rights are very important. Even after initialing the Tahl waiver, the Judge will ask the person before him if they have read and understood these rights, and will go through the bulk of the important rights being waived.
One of the rights that a person waives is the right to a jury trial. Each and every person has the right to have their case heard and to only be found guilty if a jury finds the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court will also inform the person pleading guilty that the charge could have some potential immigration consequences. These consequences can and may include deportation or loss of status. Because it is crucial that the person being charged is informed of these potential outcomes, and that they have the time and opportunity to consult with an immigration attorney.
Another important right is the right to an attorney. The law is not always clear to the lay person and it is not always a clear decision on which path is the best option for their particular case. Each person should seek the help of a legal professional so that they are making the best possible decision for their future. If a person is unrepresented and is pleading guilty, it is important that they understand they have the right to an attorney and have chosen to waive that right.
If you find yourself being charged in a court of law and are deciding to plead guilty, be sure you understand the rights available to you and when you opt to sign the Tahl waiver, you are knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily doing so.