What are Plea Agreements and Admonishments? Part 11 of 12
A Plea Agreement is a contract between the Prosecutor and the Accused, through his Lawyer. In that agreement, the prosecutor states the agreed offense and agreed punishment that the accused will accept. In exchange for that agreed offense and punishment, the accused agrees to waive the Constitutional and other legal rights.
What clients most often see is the accused in front of the Judge where the Judge warns the accused and either accepts or rejects the Plea Agreement. If the Judge accepts the Plea Agreement, the client, with few exceptions, waives all of his rights to later appeal and complain about the Plea Agreement. This is the most important step for a client, after he selects his lawyer.
Every day that I am in a courtroom, I am amazed to see people sign the plea agreement documents without reading them or ask questions. The Plea Agreement document that a client signs to close a case is the most important point in the case. Yes, even more important than having hired the lawyer.
Because it is at this last point where the client has a choice. In a Jury or Judge trial, the outcome is 100% in the heads and hands of the Jury or the Judge. Both are Strangers to the client, not their peers.