Plea in Abeyance

Definition - What does Plea in Abeyance mean?

A plea in abeyance is a plea that is made at the outset of a crime being committed, wherein the defendant admits their guilt and agrees to undertake a specific set of conditions in order to avoid being sentenced for the crime. The person has to sign a document that says that they are waiving their constitutional rights to a trial and are entering a plea that is the same as either a no-contest case or guilty plea.

An example of this is if a person is pulled over for drunk driving for the first time, and they also have an overall clean criminal record. Instead of being sentenced to jail like the crime allows for, the person might be instead sent to alcohol classes and assigned volunteer work. If the person meets the criteria set by the court, they will be allowed to avoid an actual sentence for the greater good.

Justipedia explains Plea in Abeyance

If a person takes a plea in abeyance and does not meet the terms set forth by the court in relation to the crime, they can be recalled on the same crime and sentenced to a much harsher level, such as incarceration.

The main goal of offering pleas in abeyance is to not clog up the judicial system unnecessarily by allowing those with clean records a second chance.

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