One of the most frustrating things that can happen to you and your family is the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen at sentencing. The problem with the Internet is that it tends to overwhelm us with information, yet leave us starving for knowledge. Still, there are those diehards who do not want to pay for anything, including criminal defense. They try to negotiate their own cases, or try to get firm answers when none are available. Take the following example of a Felony Plea Agreement (Plea Bargain) from Walton County, Florida:
This form makes reference to all types of things that may, or not apply to your loved one’s legal case. Worse, a mistake anywhere in the process – including on this form – can have devastating consequences in Walton County Circuit Court. These types of sentencing forms are even more complicated than they look: When I took the Florida Bar Association Board Certification Exam in 2002, an entire half of a day was spent correctly filling out a Florida Criminal Punishment Code Scoresheet and this type of related Plea and Sentencing Agreement form. The complexity – and the unbelievable danger to the criminal defendant – is one of the reasons the courts are very reluctant to let people represent themselves without a full hearing on the issue of whether someone fully understands what they are doing – and potentially doing to themselves.
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