The Plea in Abeyance – Keeping Your Record Clean

Most people’s view of criminal proceedings are focused heavily on guilty or not guilty. As criminal defense attorneys however its our job to see if we come to an agreement with the prosecution that saves our client’s from the lengthy expensive process of trial while still protecting them and their futures. One of the best resolutions available in a criminal proceeding is what is a called a plea in abeyance.

What is a Plea in Abeyance?

Judge Listening to Attorney --- Image by © Tim Pannell/Corbis (plea in abeyance)

Judge Listening to Attorney — Image by © Tim Pannell/Corbis

There are many different times of plea agreements that can be obtained in a criminal proceeding but the basic idea of a plea is that the Defendant pleads, guilty or no contest to the charges or the charges as amended to something else, and in exchange for that plea the prosecution agrees to dismiss/change some charges or agree to certain sentencing recommendations. A plea in abeyance however is a little bit different than every other time of plea however because the defendant’s guilty plea or conviction isn’t actually entered right away and may never be entered. Additionally, the greatest benefit of the plea in abeyance is that if the defendant is successful the charges plead to are eventually dismissed meaning a conviction does not go on his or her record. The basic structure of a plea in abeyance is you plead guilty to a charge, that plea is held in abeyance, or put on the back burner for a defined probationary period and if all the terms of the plea (i.e. fines, classes, community service, etc…) are completed by the end of the probationary period the case is dismissed and no conviction is entered

Getting a Plea in Abeyance in Your Case

One of the most important factors in whether or not you can get a plea in abeyance in your case is your criminal history. Most prosecutors in Utah see the plea in abeyance as something only for first time offenders, however, we have been successful in obtaining a plea in abeyance in cases where our clients did have a criminal history. If you are wondering if you could get a plea in abeyance in your case contact us today for a free consultation.

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