Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Consequences of a Defendant's Failure to Abide by a Plea Agreement

The legal consequences of a defendant’s failure to abide by a plea agreement are profound and well-defined under Florida law.

Defendants who freely and voluntarily enter into a plea agreement with the State are required to abide by the terms of that agreement; if they do not, the State can move under Rule 3.170(g) to have the court vacate the plea and corresponding sentence.[1] Once a defendant reneges on the plea agreement, the State has the option of withdrawing from the agreement, and either going to trial or seeking a new agreement.[2] If a criminal defendant does not feel so bound by the terms of a plea agreement that he or she will comply with it, then the State is likewise not bound.[3]