In the Maryland legal system, a defendant is required to enter into a plea before the commencement of the trial in response to the charges leveled against him. Here are some of the different pleas that a defendant may enter in the state’s courts-
Guilty and Not guilty pleas:
The guilty and the not guilty pleas are the two basic types of pleas that can be claimed in Maryland. By entering a not guilty plea, the most the defendant is denying is having committed the crime that he is charged with. This plea also requires the State of Maryland to produce sufficient proof to prove his guilt. Even if the defendant did commit the crime, he can go for this plea if he believes that there is not enough evidence to convict him. By entering a guilty plea, a defendant admits to the crime. When entering this plea, the accused give ups his right to a fair trial and is willing to accept any punishment that the court decides.
Alford plea vs no contest:
In addition to the above mentioned pleas, the Alford and the no contest are other two other pleas that the defendant may choose to enter in Maryland’s courts. By entering into a no contest plea, the defendant neither admits to the crime nor does he deny the charges against him. When comparing the Alford plea vs no contest, what makes the Alford plea different from the other pleas is that even though this plea also refuses to admit guilt, the defendant admits that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to get him convicted. This plea, in a way admits to the crime while at the same time maintains that he is innocent. A common example of the of the Alford plea is when the defendant was highly intoxicated at the time of the crime as a result of which he has no memory of the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Before entering a plea, it is always best that the defendant consult an experienced attorney. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to ensure, while discussing the plea that the defendant is competent, of sound mind, understands English and is not under the influence of any drugs. He should also make sure that the accused clearly understands the charges leveled against him and also that he fully understands the consequences of the plea he is making. The attorney should also ensure that the defendant is not pressurized into his plea.Google+