A Blind Plea Is up to the Judge
Video Transcribed: What do you need to know about plea agreements in federal court, and what is a blind plea? My name’s Ted Hasse. I’m a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Oklahoma at Wirth Law Office.
The most important thing that people need to know about plea agreements and the thing I want to highlight mainly at this point, is I’m seeing just way too many cases where people are agreeing to plea agreements that limit their rights, limit their rights to request a sentencing judge, do departures or variances downwards from sentencing guidelines, and limit their rights to appeal, that sort of thing. And they’re getting nothing in return.
It’s just difficult for me to understand how many of these agreements are signed onto by defendants in exchange for a plea agreement, in exchange for pleading guilty. You have to be getting something. And so that brings me to the key second point. What is a blind plea? A blind plea is where you go into court and you plead guilty without a plea agreement in place. It’s called a blind plea because there are no guarantees, and it’s going to be all up to the judge.
And you do a hearing or kind of a mini-trial on the sentencing once there’s a sentencing hearing with the judge. It’s usually a 90-day process. You go in for your change of plea. The judge orders the preparation of a pre-sentencing investigation report, and the judge is provided with information in that report about what the guidelines would be.
There’s a lot of steps that I won’t get into at this point, but once you give a blind plea, it’s going to be all up to the judge. They generally follow the U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines. And there are a number of ways that you can argue for a better result than that.
But most importantly, it never makes sense to walk into a plea agreement where you’re not getting better than what you would get on a blind plea. And too often, I’m seeing people ending up with that deal, which is essential, they’re giving up everything. They’re giving up lots of rights, and they’re getting nothing in return.
If you’re facing a criminal investigation or under indictment in a federal criminal case, give us a call. Feel free to give us a call if you need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, or If you any have questions, call (918) 932-2800.