The Plea Hearing - Indiana Criminal Litigation Process
If the decision to accept an offer of a plea agreement is made, the court is notified and a Plea Hearing is set. At that hearing, the court will review the Defendant's rights and discuss the specific terms of the plea agreement. The court is not a party to the agreement and can either accept the plea or reject it, but cannot deviate from the set terms. It is important for the defense attorney to know the Judge in the case and to work to reach pleas which will pass muster.
After the advisement of rights and the discussion of the terms of the plea, the judge will require that a "factual basis" is taken. A "factual basis" simply means that the Defendant is admitting to facts which make up the offense to which he is pleading. This is usually done by the court or the prosecution read the facts supporting the charge and the court then asking the Defendant if the facts are correct.
Once all the requirements of the plea are met, the court must decide whether to accept the agreement. The next step will then be the Sentencing Hearing, which is discussed here.