How to Get a Copy of a Plea Agreement

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If you are trying to get a copy of your own plea agreement, it should not be difficult. However, if you are trying to get a copy of another person's plea agreement, it will depend on the rules in that particular jurisdiction as to whether the plea agreement is a public document. Sometimes judges will order that a plea agreement remain sealed, or secret, to protect the parties or the victims of a crime.

Ask your lawyer for a copy of your own plea agreement. If you are unable to reach your attorney, go to the courthouse where you entered your plea and ask the clerk for a copy. Bring your case number with you as that will make the search easier.

Go to the courthouse where the plea was entered, if you want to get a copy of a plea agreement that another person entered. You will need to know the full name of the defendant and, if possible, the case number.

Go to the clerk's office. The clerk will assist you in checking the file for the case. If the plea agreement was made public, you should be able to have a copy made by the clerk. There may be a small fee (usually less than $1 per page) for copying the agreement.

Warnings

  • Not all criminal files are open to the public. In some cases, such as those involving domestic violence, the court may order that the plea agreement be sealed, so you will not be able to obtain a copy. Additionally, in most states, juvenile records can be sealed so you will not be able to obtain a copy of a plea agreement if the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the plea.

Tips

  • The search for a copy of the plea agreement will be easier if you have the full name of the case (generally in the format of: "State of Texas vs. John Michael Smith") and the case number. If you do not have the case number, try to find out the exact date that the plea was entered in court as that will help the clerk assist you in locating the file.
  • Some Federal plea agreements may be available by searching the Internet with the name of the defendant and the case number.

References

Resources

About the Author

Rita Radostitz lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has written about human rights, health & fitness and interesting people for years. Her articles have appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Oregon Quarterly and on various websites. Radostitz holds a Masters of Science in journalism with distinction from the University of Oregon and a law degree cum laude from Villanova University.

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