The Document That Clients Sign, part 12 of 12
When a client signs a Plea Agreement, it is important to understand the Constitutional and other rights and consequences when he admits guilt to the offense.
You must know the offense charged and what the plea recommendation. When you sign the plea agreement, you are waiving valuable rights. The following are some, but not all of them.
1. The right to a jury trial. A Jury is a group of about 12 civilians from your community, who are chosen to decide if there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove you guilty.
2. Before a felony can proceed, it must be indicted by a Grand Jury. THERE ARE 12 grand jurors and nine of the 12 have to vote “True Bill” an Indictment. Sometimes Grand Jurors refuse to indict a case and the case is “No Billed.” When you sign a Plea Bargain before Indictment, you are waiving that right.
3. Sometimes, if a client does not want a Jury Trial, he might “plead open” and have the Judge determine punishment after she considers the evidence and the person’s background. Most times, the Probation department will prepare a pre-sentence report for the judge.
4. If your plea agreement places you on deferred adjudication probation and you complete it, you will not have a conviction. But, if you violate Deferred Adjudication Probation, you do not get the same rights, because you waived them. The Judge can just hear the violations and, if he believes the violations, will sentence you.
5. When you sign a plea agreement you are confessing, pleading and acknowledging Guilt.
6. If you want to appeal you have to get permission from the court and it is not guaranteed, or likely, that it will be granted.
7. State and County Judges have nothing to do with Immigration. Nor do they generally care. But, a State or County conviction can cause a disaster in your immigration status.
8. The Judge must warn you that there is a risk that you can be deported, not allowed back in the U.S., or might not be allowed to become a U.S. citizen.
9. For purposes of immigration consequences, Deferred Adjudication IS THE SAME AS A CONVICTION. Many lawyers, judges, prosecutors and most Defendants do not understand this.