If you have been arrested in the Philadelphia area, your case will work its way through Pennsylvania’s legal system, proceeding through multiple steps that begin with a preliminary arraignment.
The steps in this process go all the way up through a trial and sentencing. But it is likely your case will not proceed through every level. At any time during this process, your case can be settled.
One of the ways your case may be settled is through an open plea.
What An Open Plea Means
After the pre-trial conferences are completed, and your attorney has seen the evidence gathered from discovery, you can either choose to have your case go to trial or you can plead guilty.
Pleading guilty means you admit committing the crimes the Commonwealth accused you of.
One kind of guilty plea is an open plea.
In an open plea, you and your attorney reach an agreement with the prosecutor on what charges you will plead guilty to – but the judge with decide what your sentence will be.
At sentencing, the prosecutor will let the judge know what they believe your sentence should be and why they reached that conclusion. To support their sentencing proposal, the prosecutor will usually call witnesses, including the victim. Victim impact statements can also be read in court.
Your attorney will have an opportunity to present the defense’s side. He or she will argue for the sentence that you are asking for, and will show the reasons why you should have that sentence and not the one proposed by the prosecutor. Your lawyer can present evidence and call character witnesses. You will also have an opportunity to speak if you want to.
After both sides have completed their arguments, the judge will then have the information he or she needs to decide on your sentence.
Questions? Contact us today.
As your case moves through Pennsylvania’s legal system, you need an experienced attorney to defend you. Fienman Defense provides honest communication and gives you the solid guidance you need to avoid severe penalties.