What You Need to Know About Plea Agreements

Posted by Corey L. Scott | Jan 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

What is a plea agreement?

You might think that everybody knows what a plea agreement is, but as someone who is asked this question quite often, I can tell you that is untrue. For those out there who are unclear on what a plea agreement is, I will briefly walk through what they are and how they work.

A plea agreement is, as the second part of the name gives away, an agreement. Criminal cases all start out with charges being brought forward. At the initial hearing, the defendant will be asked how they plead, and the defendant can either answer with guilty or not guilty. The case will then proceed with the various discovery phases and everything else that goes on with a criminal case, occasionally going to trial.

The majority of cases at the state level (95-97 percent!) are resolved by way of a plea agreement. When a plea agreement is taken, instead of going all the way to trial where the case would be brought before a judge and jury, the defendant signs an agreement. This agreement states that the defendant accepts responsibility and pleads guilty to the crime. There are typically certain benefits that serve as incentive for taking a plea agreement. Let's imagine that I was charged with five counts of a crime, and I agree to plead to one count. In exchange for pleading guilty to the one count, the state may dismiss the other counts. Instead of having five convictions, I now have one conviction.

The state can do other things as well. They may agree to give what is called a suspended sentence, which removes from the table the prospect of going to prison and serving time. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing that even in the worst-case scenario, all of your time can be served in the community.

The process of arriving at these terms is what is called plea bargaining, which denotes a negotiation that goes back and forth. You will want to have an experienced defense attorney to represent you and fight for the best terms on your behalf.

That, ladies, and gentlemen, is a plea agreement. I hope that this has been helpful to you, and if you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to talk with you. Until next time, remember- if you have to be guilty of anything, be guilty of greatness. 

About the Author

Corey L. Scott

Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology.  Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.  While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions.  He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis.  It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C.  Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law.  In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.


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