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Plea Negotiations

I just want to plea and get this over with. Can’t I just explain that to the judge?

Probably not a good idea. Anything you say can and will be used against you, and that is the truth. When you speak in a courtroom, everything you say is being recorded, which means that when you tell it to the judge, the prosecutor can get a copy of what you said and use it as evidence against you.

If the prosecutor is willing to offer you a deal with which you are comfortable, or if the judge has the discretion and the desire to sentence you to something to which you would agree, then explaining things to the judge may not be a problem. The problem is you won’t know any of this before you start talking. If the prosecutor is not making a reasonable plea offer, and the judge is not willing to sentence you to something you are prepared to accept, then all you have done by explaining your position is added to the strength of the state’s case.

A better option is for you to let your lawyer speak on your behalf. He or she should know what to say and how to say it to help you figure out whether there is a way to resolve your case without going to trial. More importantly, your lawyer’s words are very unlikely to be used against you later if plea negotiations fall apart.

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