What is a Plea in Abeyance?

A Plea in Abeyance is designed to allow people to keep a criminal conviction from going on their record. Often people do a Plea in Abeyance and they don’t even know it, such as when they get a speeding ticket and decide to go to traffic school and pay a fine to keep points from being added to their record.

That legal mechanism is the same in a criminal case.

A person may go before the judge and say, “I have reached an agreement with the other side and I will plead guilty.” The judge then says “I take your guilty plea, and I will hold it in abeyance (or “put it on the shelf”) and if you do what you agreed to do, then at the end of your Plea of Abeyance agreement, I will agree to dismiss it.”

In order to receive the benefit of having your case dismissed you may be asked to complete any of the following terms of a Plea in Abeyance agreement:

  • Pay a fee
  • Do community service
  • Take classes
  • Complete treatment

An attorney can almost always help you get a better resolution or Plea in Abeyance agreement than you can get yourself. Even if your goal is to get a Plea in Abeyance agreement, you may want to consult with an attorney first to determine if they can get you a better resolution.