The two most commonly used types of pleas are the guilty plea and the not guilty plea. By pleading guilty, you admit to having committed the crime and that you are willing to accept any punishment that the court rules. However, by entering a not guilty plea, you are saying that you did not commit the crime and thus are prepared to fight against the prosecution. Even if you did commit the crime that you are charged with, you can go for the not guilty plea if you think there is not enough evidence to prosecute you as a this kind of plea comes with the burden of proof.
Alford plea vs no contest plea:
The Alford plea and the no contest pleas are two other pleas that a defendant may resort to when charged with some crime. By entering into a no contest plea, the defendant neither admits to a crime nor does he deny the charges against him. The difference between the Alford plea vs no contest plea is that in the former, even though the defendant refuses to admit guilt, he admits that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict him. An instance where the defendant has no memory of the circumstances surrounding a crime is an example when the Alford plea can be used.
When a defendant is charged or arrested with criminal charges, he/she is required to enter a plea in answer to the charges against him/her. The defendant has to appear before the judge during the prosecution where the judge reads to him the charges as detailed in the charge sheet filed by the prosecution. Following this, the defendant has to enter into either the guilty or not guilty or the Alford or the no contest plea.
Before entering a plea the defendant should consult his lawyer. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to make sure that defendant, his client is competent, that he fully understands the charges against him and that he also understands the consequences of his plea. The lawyer should also ensure that he understands English, has a sound mind, that he is not under the influence of any drugs and that he is not under any pressure while making his plea. The defendant may also be offered a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer made by the prosecution to the defendant to accept a lesser penalty for giving up others or to plead guilty to lesser charges.
These are some aspects of the various pleading rules and its procedures in a court of law. There are a few landmark cases that involve each of these plea being used by defendants and students of law are encouraged to study such cases well.Google+