Q&A - Defendant Changes Their Mind on the Plea Agreement

Q&A ImageI sat in court to see what it is like in traffic court as I have never been to one before. I noticed that on many occasions, the officer would take the defendants outside of the courtroom to speak to them about their plea to the court. 

The question I have is: when the court asks the officer about the charge(s) many times I notice that the officer would say "no evidence" and then many defendants would plea "guilty".

What if in that moment, the defendant says "not guilty" instead of "guilty"?

Comments

That does not compute...

The plea time comes before the trial/evidence stage.

This doesn't make any sense to me, as I've always observed that one would have to plea not guilty before officer is invited to provide evidence (to the contrary). I've had an officer say "no evidence" at my own dispute - but I had to plea first.

What was the outcome from the supposed: "No evidence" -> "Guilty" -> "Judge says what" ?
 
(Usually it's: "Defendant: Not guilty" -> "Officer: -> No evidence" -> "Judge to Defendant: You are free to go my good sir").

Answer

I agree with Outrageous.

Calling no evidence is literally that, telling the court that the prosecution has no evidence to present. This is usually done in the situation where the defendant appears for trial and the officer does not. The officer guiding the court that day in effect tells the presiding justice that there isn't going to be a prosecution and the justice dismisses the ticket. Defendant is free to go.

If, after the conversation, the defendant decides to plead guilty, the officer presiding may elect not to give any circumstances to the court to assist with the decision on penalty or suggest to the justice that they've agreed to a specific resolution. This is different than calling no evidence.

If the defendant has a last minute change of mind they are free to enter a plea of not guilty instead. A trial would proceed and a decision made. Whatever "bargain" the officer might have agreed to would not necessarily be available at this time and if there is a conviction the assessed penalty could be different than what was initially offered.

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