What Is A Plea Hearing?

What does it mean when you potentially stand trial for the crimes you committed? Your lawyer has talked to you about plea hearings, trials, sentences, and more, but you’re not entirely sure which is the best route for you.

While the criminal defense attorneys at Probst Law Offices in Columbus Ohio cannot give you legal advice in this article, we can outline the plea hearing process so that you can be better prepared.

It’s always advised that you discuss your legal options with your attorney prior to making any decisions. Don’t have an attorney? Call Probst Law Offices today! Otherwise, continue reading to learn more about plea hearings and what to expect from them.

What to Expect at a Plea Hearing

Let’s pretend you’ve been arrested for a crime, a misdemeanor or felony charge. The district attorney then decides if you should face charges, and then the court proceedings begin. At this point in the process, you’ll get a preliminary hearing, and if you’re kept to answer to the charges, you will be arraigned.

When it comes to misdemeanors, you’ll enter a plea during your first appearance. A misdemeanor case does not allow the right to a preliminary hearing. A felony, on the other hand, may be set for what’s called a status conference to discuss the case and seek a resolution without going to trial.

If you’re able to “strike a deal” in your status conference or preliminary hearing, you’ll enter a plea then and there. If you cannot make a deal, your case will move onto the plea hearing and then onto the trial.

Plea Hearing vs. Plea Bargain

Think of a plea hearing as the event and the plea bargain as the conversation at that event. A plea hearing is what happens prior to a trial in an effort to find a resolution without having to go through a trial. A plea bargain is a negotiation between the criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor to determine the terms of the given plea. Depending on how the plea bargain unfolds, the sentencing could lessen if the criminal pleas guilty to the charges. While this sounds like a “deal”, it’s important that you consult your attorney prior to entering into any pleas.

The Plea Hearing

Once the negotiation during the plea bargain has occurred, the defendant will be sentenced. Either at the same hearing or a later scheduled hearing, the defendant will be explained their plea and the deal they’re about to enter. The attorney cannot make this plea for their client (the defendant). The defendant has to make this plea of their own volition, understanding the waiver of their rights. Counsel cannot make this decision for the defendant.

Probst Law Offices: Your Criminal Defense Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

When you’re facing criminal charges, there’s no better choice to make than to give an attorney a call. While you do have the right to represent yourself, the knowledge, experience, and status of a great attorney can help you in defending yourself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Give Probst Law Offices in Columbus, Ohio a call today. We’re here to help you get the best outcome possible.