If someone signs a plea that says that there is no sentencing agreements, what does that mean?
My husbands plea agreement says there are no sentencing agreements, and his lawyer said that everything was under control and all he would get is probation but the judge said that he could get prison time and that the next court date he should come prepared to go into custody. Is this normal? Do they always say that even if it's not the way it is happening.? Should my husband and I seek advice from another attorney?
3 attorney answers
No agreements means just that...there is no agreement in the plea. The State will make a recommendation, your attorney will make one, there will be a pre-sentencing report from the probation department, and the Judge can sentence him anywhere within the sentencing guidelines. A no agreements plea does not guarantee probation.
I have worked with hundreds of defendants after being sentenced regarding promises that their attorneys made regarding what their sentence would be. It sounds like there is a disconnect between what the plea agreement says, what the judge is indicating and what your husband's lawyer is telling him. While there are a lot of factors involved, the one thing that is absolute is that if there is not a stipulation in the plea (an agreement) as to what the sentence will be, it could be any sentence under the guidelines. There is probably not a guarantee that your husband will get probation, especially considering the judge's remark. The only way I could give more specific information is to review the plea agreement. But as I said, I have worked with countless defendants who feel blindsided by the prison sentence they receive after an attorney has told them something different. The key here is that the judge is in control of your husband's sentence, not his attorney, and anything his attorney is saying is simply a best guess.
(This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship)
As the other attorney's indicated, the judge has the ability to sentence your husband to prison, jail, probation or any combo of those. All of it depends on the judge, presentence report, prosecutor and defense attorney's argument and any victim statements. If the judge indicated that your husband may get taken into custody, he is preparing him for that possibility. The judge may or may not take him into custody, but he has the ability to do so. It is most likely his attorney will be arguing for probation and no jail in hopes that the judge will rule that way, but to be safe, just be prepared for him to go into custody.