We have discussed extensively the varying Constitutional rights afforded to each person standing a criminal trial. These rights are very important and designed to protect each individual from being wrongfully convicted, or having their rights taken away without a complete understanding of the process.
That is why in a criminal case it is extremely important to consult with and recommended to hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney. For a criminal defense attorney, this is their day to day experience and knowledge. They know whether waiving any rights is in your best interest, or if it will serve to hurt you later.
One of these important rights is the right to enter a plea. If you are represented by an attorney, the attorney may enter a plea on your behalf. Each plea will have its own specific procedures. In any case, no lawyer shall ever enter a plea on your behalf without having discussed in length the specific consequences, potential outcomes and charges with you in detail.
There are three types of pleas that may be entered on your behalf.
1. Not guilty
At the very first hearing, the arraignment, you will be given the opportunity to enter a plea. At the arraignment, you will also be given a plea bargain by the prosecutor. This is an offer that is generally reduced in exchange for a guilty plea that day. However, you do not know if that is a good offer because it is likely that you are not familiar with the law and how strong of a case you may have.
To enter a plea of not guilty, you do not have to be present if your attorney appears on your behalf. If a plea of not guilty is entered, the case will be set for pre trial. At any point during criminal proceedings, you have the option of entering a guilty plea.
At the arraignment, you will also have the option of entering a guilty plea. If you enter a guilty plea, then the case will be concluded and you will be sentenced. In order to enter a guilty plea, you will have to either be present in court to be read your rights, or you will have to sign and notarize a Tahl Waiver. A Tahl Waiver outlines all the rights you are waiving when you enter a plea of guilty. These are very important rights and include the right to a trial, a right to be tried by jury, a right to present testimony, and many other rights you would be given if the matter were to proceed to trial.
3. No Contest
This plea can be entered by an attorney on your behalf but will also require you to be read a waiver of your rights.
Before entering a plea, it is highly beneficial to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer because you can only enter a plea after knowing the facts, the law, and the strength of your case.