Los Angeles Entering a Plea FAQ

Q: What does it mean to “enter a plea?”

A: When charges are issued against an individual they can enter a plea. Generally, a “not guilty” is entered but they may change their plea at any time and plead “guilty” or “no contest.”

Enter a Plea: A formal response by the defendant to the affirmative assertions of the plaintiff in a civil case or to the charges of the prosecutor in a criminal case.

Q: What types of pleas can I enter at my arraignment?

A: At your arraignment when the charges are read against you, you can enter a variety of pleas.
 
The Three Plea Options:

  • Not Guilty
  • Guilty
  • No Contest

 
Q: Can I change my plea?

A: Yes, you can change your plea. This is most often done as a result of a “plea bargain.”
 
Q: What is a “plea bargain?”

A: Plea bargaining is the process that takes place between defense lawyers, prosecutors & judges to make sure the criminal justice system operates efficiently.
 
Example: There are 10 courtrooms in the courthouse of your major city but there are 100 cases. Obviously, they can only do trials for 10 cases, maybe less. Because every case can’t go to trial people offer deals, something less than the full punishment in order for the accused to plead guilty at an early phase.

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