Tulsa Attorney BlogWhat are the Four Types of Pleas in Oklahoma Criminal Courts?

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Video Transcribed: What are the four types of please and an Oklahoma criminal case? I’m Tulsa Attorney James Wirth. We’re about to talk to you about the different pleas in Oklahoma.

So the first one, obviously you should be aware of, that’s the not guilty plea. When you show up for your initial appearance arraignment, I mean, it’s so commonplace that you usually don’t even have to say it.

The judge is just going to give you a plea of not guilty and gets you to the next court date because that’s the standard thing to do to start the case and start working to see if an agreement can be reached with the prosecutor if it needs to go to trial. But that is if you do need to say it, you enter a plea of not guilty, you get to the next stage. All right. The next type of plea is usually part of a plea agreement.

It’s a no contest plea or a nolo contendere. And what that means is that you are not admitting guilt, but you’re acknowledging that there’s sufficient evidence for you to be found guilty and that you’re essentially requesting that the court find you guilty in order to enter a plea agreement or to enter a blind plea. So that’s nolo contendere or no contest.

The third option, also, I’m sure you’re aware of, that’s going to be the guilty plea. So if you’re admitting guilt, if you’re going to do a blind plea, then you’re probably going to want to admit guilt rather than doing no contest because you’re going to ask for mitigation and a fair sentence from the judge.

And you’re more likely to get that if you’re essentially sorry for what happened and all that. So guilty plea, you’re admitting guilt. Court’s going to find you guilty, you get sentenced.

Nothing unusual about that. Okay. But the most unusual plea is the Alford plea. And that is essentially from a 1970 United States Supreme Court case for Mr. Alford. And what he was wanting to do was he was wanting to enter a plea agreement, but he was denying that he was guilty. He was not admitting that there was sufficient evidence to convict him.

And he was essentially saying, “I’m innocent, but I’m going to plead guilty.” And that’s called an Alford plea. And when it went up to the United States Supreme Court in 1970, the question was whether that’s a valid plea or not because he wasn’t admitting guilt.

He wasn’t saying no contest. He didn’t acknowledge there was sufficient evidence against him. So is it okay to do that? And the United States Supreme Court said yes, it is okay to do that.

But I can tell you in practice, Alford plea’s extremely rare. I’ve seen a couple of them and that’s about it. And it’s because judges do not like them. Essentially, the attitude you get from a judge most of the time, if you go before the judge and say, “I’m innocent,” is, “Okay, great. Let’s set this for trial.”

So if you go before the judge and say, “I’m innocent, but I want to enter in this plea deal,” the judge doesn’t feel comfortable about that. Because the judge doesn’t want to be acknowledging that innocent people are going to jail.

So if you’re saying that you’re innocent, the judge is going to want to prove it if you’re not admitting to it. So it’s very unusual for those to be done. Judges don’t like them and there’s not really a lot of benefit to doing one. So if you’re in those circumstances, most of the time, you do it as a no contest or a nolo contendere.

But according to the United States Supreme Court, you can do an Alford plea. So any questions about these types of pleas or if you’re dealing with circumstances where you need specific recommendation from an attorney regarding your facts, then you can contact someone at my office, the Wirth Law Office by going to makelaweasy.com.

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