There are three distinct types of plea agreements in the state of Indiana, and I would like to tell you about them and discuss their differences.
The first type of plea agreement is what is called a set term plea agreement. This is an agreement between the defendant and the state of Indiana, where the terms and particulars are laid out in great detail. This is so once all parties sign off on it and the judge accepts it, all parties know exactly what the sentence will be. A set term plea agreement ensures there is no uncertainty around how long the sentence will be, whether it will involve prison time or probation, if there will be court costs and fines that will have to be paid, etcetera. There is nothing left for the judge to decide, and the judge must either accept all the terms as they are laid out, or reject it
The second type is what I would call a partial set term plea. This simply means that not every term has been laid out and agreed upon, only some terms have been set out. Other terms are left to the court to decide and put in place. You may have ten different terms, and seven of those terms are laid out and agreed to, while the other three are terms that the party could not agree to. The three, undecided terms, will be presented to the judge, and the judge can then determine what is to be done for those remaining issues.
Finally, we have what is called an open plea to the court. An open plea means that the parties could not reach an agreement. When the parties cannot come to an agreement, the defendant can say to the judge, “You know what? This prosecutor is being too harsh, and we cannot come to terms. Your Honor, I am going to plead guilty and leave the entire sentence in your hand.” In this scenario, both sides will again make an argument to the judge. The defense will of course be arguing for leniency, while the state is going to be arguing for whatever they think is appropriate. After hearing from both parties, the judge will fill in the blanks and fashion a sentence that they believe is right based on the conviction.
I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or give me a call. I am always more than happy to help. Until next time, remember- if you have to be guilty of anything, be guilty of greatness.