Step 8 - The Guilty Plea
A defendant may choose not to have a trial and enter a plea of guilty, which admits his guilt of the crimes charged. A defendant may also plead no contest, which has exactly the same effect and consequences of a guilty plea, execpt that the defendant does not admit guilt.
If a defendant pleads guilty or no contest, a plea date will be scheduled, at which time it will be determined that the defendant knows what they are doing and voluntarily enters a plea of guilty to the charges against him.
The DA will appear at the guilty plea hearing and represent the Commonwealth. Once the judge accepts the plea, the defendant may be sentenced immediately or sentencing may be held pending a pre-sentence investigation into the defendant’s background. If sentencing is delayed, the defendant is later returned to court and sentenced. At any sentencing hearing, the DA will appear and present the Commonwealth’s position.