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RULE 4-242. PLEAS

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 4. Criminal Causes
Chapter 200. Pretrial Procedures (Refs & Annos)
MD Rules, Rule 4-242
RULE 4-242. PLEAS
(a) Permitted Pleas. A defendant may plead not guilty, guilty, or, with the consent of the court, nolo contendere. In addition to any of these pleas, the defendant may enter a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.
Committee note: It has become common in some courts for defendants to enter a plea of not guilty but, in lieu of a normal trial, to proceed either on an agreed statement of ultimate fact to be read into the record or on a statement of proffered evidence to which the defendant stipulates, the purpose being to avoid the need for the formal presentation of evidence but to allow the defendant to argue the sufficiency of the agreed facts or evidence and to appeal from a judgment of conviction. That kind of procedure is permissible only if there is no material dispute in the statement of facts or evidence. See Bishop v. State, 417 Md. 1 (2010); Harrison v. State, 382 Md. 477 (2004); Morris v. State, 418 Md. 194 (2011). Parties to a criminal action in a circuit court who seek to avoid a formal trial but to allow the defendant to appeal from specific adverse rulings are encouraged to proceed by way of a conditional plea of guilty pursuant to section (d) of this Rule, to the extent that section is applicable.
(b) Method of Pleading.
(1) Manner. A defendant may plead not guilty personally or by counsel on the record in open court or in writing. A defendant may plead guilty or nolo contendere personally on the record in open court, except that a corporate defendant may plead guilty or nolo contendere by counsel or a corporate officer. A defendant may enter a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity personally or by counsel and the plea shall be in writing.
(2) Time in the District Court. In District Court the defendant shall initially plead at or before the time the action is called for trial.
(3) Time in Circuit Court. In circuit court the defendant shall initially plead within 15 days after the earlier of the appearance of counsel or the first appearance of the defendant before the circuit court pursuant to Rule 4-213 (c). If a motion, demand for particulars, or other paper is filed that requires a ruling by the court or compliance by a party before the defendant pleads, the time for pleading shall be extended, without special order, to 15 days after the ruling by the court or the compliance by a party. A plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity shall be entered at the time the defendant initially pleads, unless good cause is shown.
(4) Failure or Refusal to Plead. If the defendant fails or refuses to plead as required by this section, the clerk or the court shall enter a plea of not guilty.
Cross reference: See Treece v. State, 313 Md. 665 (1988), concerning the right of a defendant to decide whether to interpose the defense of insanity.
(c) Plea of Guilty. The court may not accept a plea of guilty, including a conditional plea of guilty, until after an examination of the defendant on the record in open court conducted by the court, the State's Attorney, the attorney for the defendant, or any combination thereof, the court determines and announces on the record that (1) the defendant is pleading voluntarily, with understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea; and (2) there is a factual basis for the plea. In addition, before accepting the plea, the court shall comply with section (f) of this Rule. The court may accept the plea of guilty even though the defendant does not admit guilt. Upon refusal to accept a plea of guilty, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty.
(d) Conditional Plea of Guilty.
(1) Scope of Section. This section applies only to an offense charged by indictment or criminal information and set for trial in a circuit court or that is scheduled for trial in a circuit court pursuant to a prayer for jury trial entered in the District Court.
Committee note: Section (d) of this Rule does not apply to appeals from the District Court.
(2) Entry of Plea; Requirements. With the consent of the court and the State, a defendant may enter a conditional plea of guilty. The plea shall be in writing and, as part of it, the defendant may reserve the right to appeal one or more issues specified in the plea that (A) were raised by and determined adversely to the defendant, and, (B) if determined in the defendant's favor would have been dispositive of the case. The right to appeal under this subsection is limited to those pretrial issues litigated in the circuit court and set forth in writing in the plea.
Committee note: This Rule does not affect any right to file an application for leave to appeal under Code, Courts Article, § 12-302 (e)(2).
(3) Withdrawal of Plea. A defendant who prevails on appeal with respect to an issue reserved in the plea may withdraw the plea.
Cross reference: Code, Courts Article, § 12-302.
(e) Plea of Nolo Contendere. A defendant may plead nolo contendere only with the consent of court. The court may require the defendant or counsel to provide information it deems necessary to enable it to determine whether or not it will consent. The court may not accept the plea until after an examination of the defendant on the record in open court conducted by the court, the State's Attorney, the attorney for the defendant, or any combination thereof, the court determines and announces on the record that the defendant is pleading voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea. In addition, before accepting the plea, the court shall comply with section (f) of this Rule. Following the acceptance of a plea of nolo contendere, the court shall proceed to disposition as on a plea of guilty, but without finding a verdict of guilty. If the court refuses to accept a plea of nolo contendere, it shall call upon the defendant to plead anew.
(f) Collateral Consequences of Certain Pleas. Before the court accepts a plea of not guilty on an agreed statement of facts or on stipulated evidence, a plea of guilty, a conditional plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere, the court, the State's Attorney, the attorney for the defendant, or any combination thereof shall advise the defendant (1) that by entering the plea, if the defendant is not a United States citizen, the defendant may face additional consequences of deportation, detention, or ineligibility for citizenship, (2) that by entering a plea to the offenses set out in Code, Criminal Procedure Article, § 11-701, the defendant will have to register with the defendant's supervising authority as defined in Code, Criminal Procedure Article, § 11701 (p), and (3) that the defendant should consult with defense counsel if the defendant is represented and needs additional information concerning the potential consequences of the plea. The omission of advice concerning the collateral consequences of a plea does not itself mandate that the plea be declared invalid.
Committee note: In determining whether to accept the plea, the court should not question defendants about their citizenship or immigration status. Rather, the court should ensure that all defendants are advised in accordance with this section.
Cross reference: For the obligation of the defendant's attorney to correctly advise the defendant about the potential immigration consequences of a plea, see Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S.356 (2010) and State v. Prado, 448 Md. 664 (2016).
(g) Plea to a Degree. A defendant may plead not guilty to one degree and plead guilty to another degree of an offense which, by law, may be divided into degrees.
(h) Withdrawal of Plea. At any time before sentencing, the court may permit a defendant to withdraw a plea of guilty, a conditional plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere when the withdrawal serves the interest of justice. After the imposition of sentence, on motion of a defendant filed within ten days, the court may set aside the judgment and permit the defendant to withdraw a plea of guilty, a conditional plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere if the defendant establishes that the provisions of section (c), (d), or (e) of this Rule were not complied with or there was a violation of a plea agreement entered into pursuant to Rule 4-243. The court shall hold a hearing on any timely motion to withdraw a plea of guilty, a conditional plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere.
Committee note: The entry of a plea waives objections to venue and may waive technical defects in the charging document. See, e.g., Rule 4-202 (b) and Kisner v. State, 209 Md. 524 (1956).
Source: This Rule is derived as follows:
Section (a) is derived from former Rule 731 a and M.D.R. 731 a.
Section (b)
Subsection (1) is derived from former Rule 731 b 1 and M.D.R. 731 b 1.
Subsection (2) is new.
Subsection (3) is derived from former Rule 731 b 2.
Subsection (4) is derived from former Rule 731 b 3 and M.D.R. 731 b 2.
Section (c) is derived from former Rule 731 c and M.D.R. 731 c.
Section (d) is new.
Section (d) is new.
Section (e) is derived from former Rule 731 d and M.D.R. 731 d.
Section (f) is new.
Section (g) is derived from former Rule 731 e.
Section (h) is derived from former Rule 731 f and M.D.R. 731 e.

Credits

[Adopted April 6, 1984, eff. July 1, 1984. Amended April 7, 1986, eff. July 1, 1986; June 28, 1989, eff. July 1, 1989; Jan. 20, 1999, eff. July 1, 1999; Dec. 4, 2007, eff. Jan. 1, 2008; Oct. 20, 2010, eff. Jan. 1, 2011; Nov. 1, 2012, eff. Jan. 1, 2013; Dec. 13, 2016, eff. Apr. 1, 2017.]
MD Rules, Rule 4-242, MD R CR Rule 4-242
Current with amendments received through December 1, 2023. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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