When you are preparing to enter a plea, you may feel unsure about what your options are. If you have ever been to Court to pay a traffic ticket, you have likely heard of the three main pleas: guilty, not guilty, or nolo (or nolo contendre). But, depending on the status of your case, you may have another option of which you were not aware. In cases which are diversion-eligible, you may have the option to enter a Stinson plea. A Stinson plea is a guilty plea which is entered by the defendant, but may be withdrawn once certain special conditions are satisfied. This kind of plea came from the Georgia Supreme Court case, The State v. Stinson. In this case, the Court held that Georgia law allows a person to withdraw a guilty plea and plead not guilty “at any time before judgment is pronounced.”
This kind of plea can look very different from one case to another. For example, if you were charged with family violence battery, you may be able to enter your Stinson guilty plea, complete a Family Violence Intervention Program, complete an Anger Management Evaluation and any recommended treatment, and avoid drugs and/or alcohol for a period of time. If you were accused of misdemeanor marijuana possession, you may have to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and participate in random drug screens. In both cases, Once you completed the terms of your “probation,” you would be able to withdraw your plea and the State will dismiss the charges. Once you complete the conditions and the charges are dismissed, your record will show that you were not prosecuted for the charges.
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to understand your options. We want to make sure you are educated and empowered throughout the criminal justice process. Give us a call at 404-581-0999. Written by Attorney Katherine A. Edmonds.