Entering Pleas and Plea Agreements in Illinois Criminal Cases

 Posted on December 09, 2014 in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, criminal pleas,Roughly nine out of every 10 criminal cases in the United States are resolved through some sort of plea agreement. Usually, these agreements require the defendant to accept some criminal liability for some criminal offense in return for a more lenient sentence or punishment. The manner in which the criminal defendant accepts or rejects liability for the charged crime is through entering a plea.

Types of Pleas in Illinois

 There are four types of pleas a criminal defendant may enter to charges in Illinois. Each type of plea can have serious ramifications, so it is best to consult with an Illinois criminal defense attorney before entering any plea:

  • Not Guilty. A plea of not guilty is entered when the defendant denies that he or she is responsible for the crime charged. By entering this plea, it becomes necessary for the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial. A defendant who enters a not guilty plea is legally permitted to change his or her plea at a later time.
  • Guilty. A plea of guilty is entered when the defendant wishes to accept responsibility for the crime charged. Upon entering this plea, the defendant is no longer presumed innocent and, assuming the court is satisfied there is evidence to support the plea, the court will find the defendant guilty. A guilty plea can be entered pursuant to a plea agreement with the prosecution, in which case the plea agreement will be presented to the court for acceptance. A defendant can also enter a blind or open guilty plea, in which case the court will determine what sentence is appropriate.
  • Guilty but Mentally Ill. This plea is used by a defendant who agrees that he or she committed the charged crime but did so at a time when he or she was mentally ill. This plea results in the defendant undergoing a series of examinations to determine whether the defendant did in fact suffer from a mental illness. If it is determined that he or she did suffer from a mental illness at the time of the offense, the plea will be accepted.
  • Alford plea. An Alford plea (named after the U.S. Supreme Court case North Carolina v. Alford) is a unique type of plea. In this plea, the defendant asserts that he or she is innocent of the charges. However, he or she acknowledges that the prosecution possesses enough evidence that it could convict him or her of the offenses if the case proceeded to trial. This plea allows the court to find the defendant guilty.

 Consult with the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

 If you are charged with a crime, do not enter a plea until you have spoken with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, we will aggressively represent you and advise you of the course of action that is in your best interests. Contact the office today for a free consultation today at 312-629-0669.

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