In rare cases, a defendant who is being tried for a criminal offense may employ the Alford plea. The Alford plea is slightly controversial, as it is not technically a declaration of innocence or an admission of guilt. When a defendant utilizes the Alford plea, he/she does not plead guilty to the crime that he/she is being accused of.
He/she continues to assert that, to the best of his/her knowledge, he/she is innocent of the crimes that he/she is being charged with. However, he/she admits that, based upon the available evidence, the charge will most likely be proven by the prosecution. After pleading in this manner, a defendant will be convicted of the crimes that he/she is accused of. Subsequently, he/she will receive a criminal sentence that he/she must complete.
There are a number of circumstances that may cause an individual to employ the Alford plea. For example, if a defendant has no memory of the offense, but the evidence indicates that he/she is guilty, than he/she may utilize this defense. Intoxication, trauma, and amnesia are all conditions that may cause an individual to maintain no memory of the event.
Therefore, an individual may believe that he/she is innocent, despite incriminating evidence presented by the prosecution. In some instances, an individual may not be able to admit to him/herself that he/she is guilty of the accused crimes. In cases such as this, the Alford plea may be used. Pleading in this manner may allow an individual to obtain a less severe criminal sentence, than if he/she maintains his/her innocence throughout the entire trial and is ultimately convicted.