Shortly after a person is arrested, they will be arraigned. This is a court hearing where the arrested individual will be formally charged with a crime or crimes and will need to enter a plea. Most people are aware of guilty or not-guilty pleas, but there are actually three different pleas. It’s important for a person to know what their options are, especially if they don’t have a lawyer yet.
Plea of Guilty
A person does have the option of pleading guilty. This should only be done if they are guilty and they believe the judge will be lenient. It’s a good idea to avoid pleading guilty without legal advice as there will not be a trial to determine guilt and the next step will simply be the sentencing for the crime the person has admitted to. If they have a chance to speak with a lawyer before their arraignment, they can find out if it would be better to plead not-guilty and go through a trial.
Plea of Not Guilty
A not-guilty plea doesn’t necessarily mean the person did not commit the crime; it means they want the prosecution to have to prove they committed the crime before they are sentenced for it. Following this plea, the accused will go through a trial so the court can determine if they are actually guilty of the crime. This could buy the accused more time if they need to hire a lawyer or could make it possible for them to be found not guilty in court.
Plea of Nolo Contendere
In some cases, a person can plead nolo contendere. This means they’re basically pleading guilty without admitting to having committed the crime. When someone pleads nolo contendere, they are going to be sentenced for the crime as if they had pleaded guilty, but the criminal case cannot be used as proof of their guilt in a civil case.
Anyone who has been arrested will need to choose one of the three different pleas during their arraignment. If they do not have legal assistance yet, they might want to plead not guilty and hire a lawyer. Visit www.tulsa-criminallawyers.com/ now to learn more about what to expect during and after an arraignment and to hire a lawyer for help.