What does it mean to "plead to the sheet"?

In states like California, judges and lawyers may use the phrase “plead to the sheet” to describe the defendant pleading guilty to all charges filed by the government without any agreement with the prosecution about the sentence. Defendants may choose this option when they don’t want to go to trial, but think that they can get a better sentence than the prosecution offered to recommend.

Other phrases that may convey the same concept include “pleading straight up” and “open plea.”

If you are considering pleading to the sheet, absolutely consult an experienced attorney in your area. That lawyer can explain the procedure and your options. Importantly, he or she may be able to provide insight about the sentence the judge would impose.

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