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What Constitutional Rights are Waived When You Plead Guilty to a Crime?

At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland are dedicated to protecting our client’s Constitutional Rights from the start of their case through its final solution.

Our goal is to pursue the best outcome for each client, which may include having their case dismissed, their charges dropped or converted to a lesser charge, a not-guilty verdict when we go to trial, and in some cases — only when it makes the most sense for our clients — during plea agreements with the prosecutor’s office.

When the latter is the best option, we will fully discuss the details of a plea agreement with our client, so he or she may make an informed decision about the direction of their case.

While each judge conducts their courtroom hearings differently, certain factors must be evident during any plea agreement, regardless of the level, and irrespective of the penalty agreed to, so the individual understands and acknowledges the Constitutional Rights they are waiving when pleading guilty to a crime.

What Constitutional Rights are Waived When Pleading Guilty to a Crime in Washington D.C. or Maryland?

Every judge in Washington D.C. and Maryland must address, in person, and with emphasis to every defendant who appears in their courtroom to enter a guilty plea, the essential Constitutional Rights they are waiving to take the deal.

Each defendant must specifically acknowledge an understanding of the following rights he or she is waiving, including the right to:

  • A public and speedy jury trial
  • Counsel and have one appointed to them if they could not afford one during any stage and for any proceeding before the Court
  • Remain silent and not be compelled to testify against oneself
  • Present evidence on one’s behalf and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
  • Subpoena individuals at no expense to them through the compulsory process to appear on their behalf and favor
  • See, hear, confront, and cross examine the witnesses against them
  • The State to prove his/her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to all elements of the offense
  • To appeal the convictions or any sentence imposed by the Court

Each of these waived rights must be read aloud and the defendant must express an understanding of each for a guilty plea to be legally upheld.

If a judge fails to address these specific constitutional rights, the case would be ripe for appeal and/or post-conviction relief.

If you have been charged with a crime and would like to know if a plea deal is right for your circumstances, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland at Lotze Mosley, LLP to determine the best course of action for your unique case by calling (202) 393-0535 today.

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