Guilty pleas are an admission of blameworthiness by a person accused of a crime. Sometimes guilty pleas are made as part of a plea bargain in which the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or the punishment in exchange for the guilty plea. A guilty plea saves the time and expense of a lengthy trial.
Before accepting a plea of guilty the court must do certain things:
Address the defendant and inform him and make certain he understands:
Determine that the plea is not the result of force, threats or promises, other than a plea bargain agreement, and is, on the whole, a knowing, voluntary and intelligent act of the defendant. The lack of a voluntary and knowing plea may be the basis for a later plea withdrawal.
Determine that there is a factual basis for the defendant's admission of guilt.
The entire guilty plea proceeding must be conducted in open court and recorded by a court reporter.