In Philadelphia, several thousand criminal cases are resolved by way of stipulated trial annually. In a stipulated trial, the parties have agreed upon the facts to be presented. No witnesses are called. No evidence is presented except the state prepared police reports and other exhibits. There is no cross examination. In exchange for the defendant waiving their constitutional rights to at rial, the defendant receives an offer. This offer may be more lenient than the consequences of a criminal conviction by way of trial. Defendants waive certain rights when entering in a stipulated trial. Here is the standard colloquy given to defendants in Philadelphia to inform them of their rights.
- What is your name?
- How old are you?
- Do you read, write and understand the English language?
- Are you under the influence of any drugs or alcohol as you stand here today?
- Have you taken any medications in the last week?
- Have you been hospitalized for a mental illness?
- Do you understand that if you were on probation or parole at the time time of the incident involved in this case, then a conviction on this case will put you in violation of that probation or parole?
- Do you understand that if you are not a US Citizen, then a conviction on this case may have consequences on your immigration status?
- Do you understand that you are presently in Municipal Court facing (the charges) and that you have a right to a trial?
- At that trial, live witnesses would be called to stand to testify against you and you, through your attorney, would be allowed to cross-examine them to help the Judge determine whether they are telling the truth?
- You could also call witnesses to testify on your behalf?
- Do you understand that instead of having a trial, today we are going to proceed by way of stipulated trial? A stipulated trial means that no live witnesses will be called, but instead the District Attorney will read into the record the police reports and the Judge will make a determination on those facts?
- Have you spoken with your attorney about proceeding by way of a stipulated trial?
- Has, anyone force, threatened, or promised you anything to proceed in this fashion?
- Are you still willing to proceed with the stipulated trial?
The decision to proceed by way of stipulated trial should not be taken lightly. Before you decide to enter in a stipulated trial, speak with your attorney about the possibility of a real trial. If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia, call Mark D. Copoulos into your corner. Our firm provides a free consultation.