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Ed Shaw Law No Nonsense Legal Advice

Local Solutions For Local Problems


by | Mar 3, 2023 | Criminal Law |

In criminal court the vast majority of cases are resolved by agreements, called plea bargains, where the defendant, the person charged with a crime, usually through their attorney, makes an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution reducing the charge, the sentence, or both.  In that way criminal court is similar to family and civil court, most cases are resolved by an agreement without a trial in those courts too.

Why do the majority of people charged with a crime make a plea bargain?  They do it to get a predictable result, to avoid a more severe consequence, jail, or prison, or, to reduce a sentence.

If you are looking to make a plea make sure you know all of the consequences, your chances at trial if you go that route, the worst case if you lose at trial.  Your lawyer can give you odds, but, never a guarantee, your odds may be good at trial, and, you still lose, or, you odds may be bad, but, you get a not guilty verdict.

Once you make a plea it is very, very hard to get out of it. Rule 15.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure provides for the withdrawal of a guilty plea but, the defendant has to file a motion with the court, and the trial judge has to find that there is good reason to let the plea be withdrawn. Withdrawing a plea is always very difficult and it is rarely granted.  Bottom line, do not plead guilty unless you are sure that is what you want to do, get all of your questions answered, once you plea there is usually no going back.


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