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What Constitutional Rights Do I Waive When Pleading Guilty to a Crime?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland focus on protecting each of our client’s Constitutional Rights from the moment we case their cases.

This is important in every case, but increasingly important when our clients agree to a guilty plea.

When someone is pleading guilty, they must demonstrate an understanding of what they are pleading to by first acknowledging that they committed the offense.

They must also understand the range of penalties they are facing, and fully comprehend the Constitutional Rights they are giving up by pleading guilty.

While each judge conducts their courtroom hearings slightly differently, we explain to each of our clients that certain things must be included in any plea agreement, regardless of the level, and irrespective of the penalties they have agreed to.

Here is what you need to know.

What Rights Am I Forfeiting During a Guilty Plea in Washington D.C. or Maryland?

To follow is a list of the essential Constitutional Rights every judge must address with emphasis to every defendant before them who is entering a guilty plea.

The defendant must specifically acknowledge, understand, and waive each of the following rights individually.

They include:

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

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 are considering pleading guilty to the charges, 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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