Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Is it Pleaded or Pled Guilty?

Pleading Guilty = Being Found Guilty
You know for as long as I practice law, and live life there sometimes isn't a "right" answer. Language and usage based in culture, in country, and most appropriately in time vary. One of my daughters loves to use the word "dank," as in that is so dank, and one of my sons loves to say that I am "savage"and "vicious" when I tell it like it.

But what is the right and wrong tense of the word plead? Is the past tense pled or is the past tense pleaded? Since 95% of criminal cases in this country do just that is this important?

To Plead Guilty to a Crime is the Same Thing as Being Found Guilty of the Crime by a Judge or a Jury

So let's start with this truth, there is NO difference between pleading to an offense, and being found guilty of it after a trial (bench or jury). They will equal the same thing in the end, a sentencing hearing. The judge must explain this to each and every person that takes (accepts) a plea. In other words, accepts a "plea bargain" by a district attorney (the prosecutor) and then proceeds to be sentenced on that offense.

So Is it I Pled Guilty or Is It I Pleaded Guilty?

A legal search of cases for the term "pleaded" showed over 3,000 instances where the highest Court (U.S. Supreme) published the word in their opinions while using the word pled in less than 30.

The truth is both are correct. Anyone that tells you otherwise is sadly mistaken or full of it. There have been published court opinions using both terms. In day to day court cases most attorney verbalize "pled" but in most published Supreme Court Opinions they use the term "pleaded."

I use the term pled because after all I am from Brooklyn. I don't mince my words or add more vowels than necessary. But to a more cultured crowd I can see how pleaded would work.