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Handling The Toughest Cases

Guilty Plea: What to expect?

| Dec 29, 2014 | Criminal Defense |

People enter the criminal justice system from a variety of different backgrounds. Statistically, most people charged with drunk driving a.k.a. influenced driving a.k.a. driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a combination of both, are first time offenders under the age of 26. On the other hand, about 50 percent of convicted felons have suffered more than 10 arrests before becoming a felon.

In either case, defendants struggle with the finality of a guilty plea. Defendants struggle with entering a guilty plea for a variety of reasons. For example, they do not want to go to jail, suffer a large fine, they may feel they being persecuted or treated unfairly, or are anxious about the process. A capable lawyer will try to ease their client’s uneasiness.

Before a defendant is allowed to enter a guilty plea, Rule 605(b) provides that “In all cases in which a judgment is entered upon a plea of guilty, other than a negotiated plea of guilty, at the time of imposing sentence, the trial court shall advise the defendant substantially as follows:

  • that the defendant has a right to appeal;
  • that prior to taking an appeal the defendant must file in the trial court, within 30 days of the date on which sentence is imposed, a written motion asking to have the trial court reconsider the sentence or to have the judgment vacated and for leave to withdraw the plea of guilty, setting forth the grounds for the motion;
  • that if the motion is allowed, the sentence will be modified or the plea of guilty, sentence and judgment will be vacated and a trial date will be set on the charges to which the plea of guilty was made;
  • that upon request fo the State any charges that may have been dismissed as a part of a plea agreement will be reinstated and will also be set for trial;
  • that if the defendant is indigent, a copy of the transcript of the proceedings at the time of the defendant’s plea of guilty and sentence will be provided without cost to the defendant and counsel will be appointed to assist the defendant with the preparation of the motions;
  • that in any appeal taken from the judgment a plea is one in which the prosecution has bound itself to recommend a specific sentence, or a specific range of sentence, or where the prosecution has made concessions relating to the sentence to be imposed and not merely to the charge or charges pending.”

Different admonishments are required depending on whether the defendant a negotiated plea of guilty or entered a not guilty plea. Furthermore, before the acceptance of a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or nolo contendere to a misdemeanor or felony offense, the court shall give the following advisement to the defendant in open court:

“If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are hereby advised that conviction of the offense for which you have been charged may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization under the laws of the United States.” 725 ILCS 5/113-8.