Home > In Trouble > Pleading Guilty and the Courts

Pleading Guilty and the Courts

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 12 Jul 2021 |
Guilty Plea Credit Court Offence

If you are thinking about pleading guilty to an offence, you may wish to seek the advice of a solicitor first. It could be that you should be pleading guilty to a lesser offence, or that you need to have the likely implications (i.e. the sentence) spelled out to you first. A solicitor may also help you to put across your side of the story, which could also have an impact on the likely punishment that the court gives you.

Credit For Guilty Pleas

In most cases, if you plead guilty to an offence you will get a lesser sentence than if you are found guilty after a trial. Depending on the stage that your case has reached when you enter your guilty plea, you can get a discount of up to one third off your sentence. This applies to fines, community orders and sentences of imprisonment.

Newton Hearings

In some cases, if the facts of the prosecution case differ substantially from your version of events the judge may order a ‘Newton’ hearing. This is in effect a trial that determines the facts even though you have pleaded guilty on a limited basis. For example, if you agree that you committed section 20 GBH (wounding) but not that you did it with intent (which is section 18 GBH) then the judge may decide that you need to have a trial to determine whether or not you had the requisite intent to satisfy the elements of a section 18 offence. Most lawyers will advise against Newton hearings as it is difficult to obtain a good outcome.

Basis of Plea

You may instead be advised by your lawyer to plead guilty ‘on a basis.’ This is a document that sets out the facts that you are prepared to agree to, and is signed by you and your lawyer. If the prosecution agrees to it, then the prosecutor will also sign it. If not, you can still submit a basis of plea and give it to the judge but it will not have as much weight if the prosecution refuses to sign it.


Once you plead guilty, you are ‘convicted.’ This means that you may be put on ‘judge’s remand’ pending your sentencing hearing. This is different to being on normal ‘remand’. A remand prisoner is an un-convicted prisoner. A prisoner on judge’s remand has pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced yet.

Types of Sentences

There are lots of different types of sentences that the court can give you, from an ‘absolute discharge’ which means no punishment at all, to a life sentence. There are also conditional discharges, fines, community orders, curfews, intermittent custody and imprisonment, to name a few. You may also be ‘bound over’ to keep the peace, or if you admit guilt in the police station you could be given a caution, which will stay on your criminal record but will mean that you do not need to go to court.

If you are in any doubt about whether you should plead guilty or not, you should seek legal advice. You may be entitled to legal aid to pay for your representation, but this will depend on your financial circumstances. Again, a solicitor is the best person to advise you on this.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
To whom it may concern, I got this letter from my neighbour who gave the letter to my father and it was already opened, My neighbour asked my father to look at the letter, as he was not sure. My Father read it and gave it to me and I read the letter and it was for me when I read the letter.However the name and the door number is incorrect and this must be the reason, I never received the first correspondence. However I have never received the first correspondence letter from you, as it must of gone to my neighbour. I asked my friend and they got a different letter from the one I received, where they had an option to pay within 14days. I never had this opportunity nor received the first letter. I had a good reason to go to this destination, asI had to go to Blackburn to my uncle house (My uncle address is off Montague Street on 67 Melville Drive, BB2 1DE) to give food , Medication and washed clothes, as he was not well and my Auntie is on medication who is always on regular medication , due to she has Heavy depression.I don’t have a car or drive, so I told my friend if he can help me to take me to Blackburn. Which I had to take the week supply of food, Medication and washed clothes to my uncle house in Blackburn, so on our way back we picked upa takeaway, as it was on our way to our route, which I told my friend I will treat you as for taking me to Blackburn, as my Father said to give him something back in return for helping . My father was not well due to his Osteoarthritis and he told me to do this job for him. It would of been adequate for the Police officer to advise us and encouraging us to do the right thing , by preventing us what we are doing is wrong and this is your first offence it would have been acceptable to be given a warning/caution, however this is my opinion under the common law it should be looked at. I myself never ever broke the law and I am law abiding citizen and I was shaken and frighten , when the Police stopped us , as we never realised what was the reason for being stopped. I did not realised I was going to tier 4 area, there are too many changes at the time on the covid 19 rules and regulation, which sometimes makes it difficult to keep up to date with the latest changes happening by the government. I was getting confused myself. I am living with my parents house I have no income to support myself. I am struggling to find a job and I feel I have let down my parents and the community, as I should of gone straight back home and not gone to the takeaway on my way, as I did not wanted my friend to do it for free, as I needed to give him something back for helping me as a favour.It has costed my friend the fine as well, which I said to him I will have to sort it out, as it was not your fault, as I asked you in the first place to help me out. I do not have any bad habits , as I am always at home. I am really sorry for this and this is not an excuse for doing something wrong and
Caretaker - 12-Jul-21 @ 5:43 AM
My son is AUTISTIC, he is 28 years old, he was arrested aug 19, he has been charged with cohersive behaviour, he has pleaded guilty and up for sentencing this month, his ex partner ( the victim) has contacted him twice on social media wishing him "all the best & no hard feelings", hes even wished him happy birthday, how can he be allowed to do this has we feel its just to gode my son into more trouble. Solicitor says he can contact him because he's the victim but my son can't reply back ( which he hasn't.) Can you help please?
Smartie - 8-Jul-21 @ 9:33 AM
I would also like to say since the beginning of my relationship with Mr James Christopher Lee with domestic violence abuse at the age of 17 I started to get anxiety and depression and I.have proof of this in England by my doctor in the orient surgery doctors surgery which will then prove my anxiety and depression that I also had
Tweetie pie - 1-Jul-21 @ 2:12 PM
I have just been to magistrates court and pleaded not guilty. My trial is set for 8 months time. I am suffering with extreme anxiety and due to thisI can not mental wait that long to get closure. Can I change my plea to guilty so I can resolve this ASAP ?If so what do I need to do.
Chubby - 26-Jun-21 @ 7:06 AM
My partner is on remand and has been for a month. He was found in a house with other people where cannabis was being grown. The charge is cultivation of cannabis. The police nor his Soliciter’s(duty) have taken a statement off me even though we live together and I was with him before the incident. The persons who’s house it is has pleaded guilty. My partner told the soliciter he was there on the night and was paid a small fee to cut it down or keep a watch etc.the soliciter then entered his plea as guilty and said it still counts as suspicion to cultivate. He has ever been in trouble before and this is so out of character for him. He has an immigration case pending which is why he is on remand. He is going to be sentenced in July. His barrister told me that he thinks he’ll get a year max not over however I have tried to appoint a private soliciter who had completely let me down and he has said that he thinks he could get 18 months. I wanted to get rid of these duty soliciters as there useless, but the private soliciter had let me down and said there’s no point in changing soliciter now as he has made his plea. I asked the duty soliciter to apply for bail and he said there no point as he will be out soon. I’m so upset over the bad advice, any advice is welcome! Thanks in advance.
Bora - 25-May-21 @ 5:12 PM
My wife called the police when we had an argument and I had to restaurant her from causing injury I was charged with assault pending my court case next week after telling them the above which my wife also said So our account of events match We reconciled although not directly as wasnot allowed to make contact Now my wife wants to appear in court on my behalf Can do this
Cammy - 20-May-21 @ 6:47 PM
I have been charged with 4 charges one is kissing 14 years old girls and second is catagory a picture what outcome will come soon I have court my lawyer said is good if you accept plead guilty, anyone can help please
Rafi - 20-Apr-21 @ 8:59 AM
I have pleaded not guilty but my codependent as pleaded not guilty I’ve been waiting 15 months and still waiting for my trial as for my codependent is in custody how long can he be kept on judges remand be for sentencing
Fatty - 15-Apr-21 @ 5:17 PM
Hi my friend was sentence to 10yrs prison for having a fight with his friend his lawyer has not much help at all and did not stick up for him in court there was loads of evdice to support that things that happened on that night did not happen his sentence was unfair and has to sevre 5ys 8months is there anyway of appealing against this many thanks
Jen - 17-Mar-21 @ 2:11 PM
I am in Crown Court I pleaded guilty to taking money from my mum's bank account and I am awaiting sentence on a category 4 offence ,My mum has just been told that she has Cancer and has been given less than 2 months to live, Can I change my plea now due to this and what will happen if I do because She will not be here to go to trial
Deano1969er - 12-Mar-21 @ 10:15 AM
Hello my partner is currently on remand awaiting sentence for 7 months now surely there has to be a custody time limit on this ? He is in there amongst a lot of covid cases and all under isolation can only have a shower every 72 hours how is this correct? I’ve looked at the custody time limit calculator and it said that cases should be reviewed regularly ? And his hasn’t ...... please could you give me some insight and advice on this matter please
She she - 8-Feb-21 @ 10:20 PM
Hi, I was arrested a few days ago, I was parked up in my car smoking cannabis whilst watching Netflix on my phone, the officers searched my car and found a small amount of more cannabis and I told them I had a knife and a slingshot (I often go camping / fishing / hunting, I even had an inflatable kayak in my boot at the time of the search, I explained there was no bad intention with the knife I was just unaware it was not allowed in my car. This is the first time I have ever been in trouble with the police, I was taken to the station where I spent a night and plead guilty. And have been charged, the officers said if it was just the cannabis I would have been let off with a warning. They have charged me and I am due to go to court in December. I am so worried as I do not want to get a criminal record, please can you offer some advice? Thank you
Jon - 3-Nov-20 @ 3:18 AM
Hi my brother is on remand as he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault by beating and criminal damage and aggravating factor, but police have evidence that he is guilty, he said he could get up to 6 months and its his first offence. If he changes his plea to guilty what could be his outcome, please help kind regards
Newdawn - 20-Sep-20 @ 9:32 PM
So, I was driving a vehicle alone with a provisional. I was on motorways as well. I got to pay 100£ and 3 points and I have to send in my provisional, that has another address on it, then my actual address. Will I get back my provisional, cuz I want to go to the theoretic exam soon. Cheers.
Someow - 13-Sep-20 @ 3:30 AM
My son was attacked by his ex wife. She walked up to his home and stabbed him 8 times She has been charged with section 18 wound with intent... she also has been charged with 2 counts of threat to kill.. with a further assault against him since pending!! In crown court she tried to plea bargain and reduce the sentence by pleading guilty to GBH section 20. Not guilty to section 18 and not guilty to the threats to kill. It’s being sent to trial and jury. What do you think the outcome could be. Also she had no previous and is a mother to a little boy
Vicki - 9-Sep-20 @ 6:38 AM
I've been arrested and charged with drink driving and leaving the scene of a accident,nobody was harmed during the accident ,this is my second offence for drink driving in just over 5 years ,I have two months to go before court I'm besides myself with worry as I'm scared that a prison sentence will be the outcome ,I have dependants and work long hours to keep my family going main money in the house any prison sentence would put my family at risk due to money problems ,as I would lose my job and my wife would have to give up her part time job to look after our 8 year old son.
Jai - 5-Aug-20 @ 8:40 AM
My daughter was stopped driving someone else's car and subsequently charged with driving with no insurance.Her insurance does allow her to drive other people's cars with their permission.This morning whilst at court, waiting for an email from the insurance company confirming this, she was called in.The duty solicitor told her that as the email hadn't yet come through she would have to plead guilty, which she did.We now find that having pleaded guilty she has no right of appeal.Is there anything that can be done?This is surely at the very least, negligence on the part of the solicitor?It doesn't seem right that you can be convicted of an offence, even if you plead guilty, when there was no offence.
UnderPressure - 21-Jul-20 @ 11:58 AM
So, after refusung to sign a CRO over putting my hand over a mobile phone to stop someone filming me ( and shouting abuse at me)..im the one with a common assault charge hanging over me. Police said technially cos i put my hand over the phone its assault and he wants to press charges-despite the fact there was no injury, no shouting or abuse from me. Policeman said he didnt like my attitude and i should have jsut signed CRO. talk about coersed! Never so much a parking ticket in my life...im going to plead not guilty as i was genuinely feeling threatened....but i have a feeling im going to be found guilty on a technicality...should i just pay the fine and be done but thats not justice surely
freddy - 18-Jul-20 @ 8:04 PM
My ex wife's dad assaulted my oldest son, I went to the house to confront him and we got in to a scuffle, he ended up worse off and I got arrested for gbh with intent, I'm currently waiting trial. I've said it was self defense, as he put his hands on me first.Im obviously expecting some sort of punishment, but a custodial would be harsh. Has anyone been in this situation before?
Danny - 18-Jul-20 @ 6:52 AM
My son is being convicted of causing death by careless driving. In April of last year my nephew called him for a lift at 11:30pm. My son originally told him no but my nephew was drunk so my son went to pick him up along with his 2 friends. On the way to dropping them off, somehow my son lost control of the car and it left the road hitting a tree and killing my nephew. He said he was doing 65mph on a 60mph road so he has pleaded guilty. My son had no alcohol or drugs in his system as he doesn’t do either, he’s always been a sensible boy. He’s now 20, he was 19 when the accident happened. We go to crown court on Friday this week and I am worried sick that he could go to jail. It’s only ever been the 2 of us and I will admit he is a bit of a Mam’s boy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Lizzydrip - 4-Jul-20 @ 10:15 AM
I pulled my car in stopped as I opens door a cyclist came off his bike I asked was he ok but all he was doing was complaining he hurt his left leg I was mistified as he scrambled off his bike to the right I gave him my insurance and phone number when he left hospital he reported me to police the police ring me I said not denying knocking him off his bike but he new I’d just pulled in shorely 50 50
Bill - 2-Jun-20 @ 5:44 PM
I was arrested on Feb 18th for common assault on my partner . I grabbed her round the throat . Also criminal damage and possession of a small amount of cannabis. I admitted a similar offence 6 years ago (different partner) I was given a fine community order and bbr course. I'm intending to plead guilty but have just been bailed for the now 3rd time and not as yet been given a new date to hand myself in. Any advice please?
Southsand1 - 17-Apr-20 @ 6:55 PM
Hi could you please help me urgently. We are husband an wife. Last year we had some arguments. My husband pushed my mouth and nose. I had called to the police. When the police arrived some blood came from my mouth and nose. When they asked me I said my husband pushed me that's why I am bleeding. Police arrested and released on bail.After that police enquireand record everything in their camera. They asked me to give statement against my husband. But I said I don't want to make any complaints against him but I need to go away from him. After that social service involved because I have three children. Now CPS (POLICE) filed a case against my husband to beating me. Last December first date my husband said I am not guilty. They said trail will be on March 6. So next Friday trail for my husband. I would like to support my husband. Could you please advise me what I can do to bring my husband out from the case please.Please help me. Thanks
Liam - 4-Mar-20 @ 8:35 PM
I've been arrested for stealing at work. My first offence. What's the likely outcome. Do I plead guilty or not guilty I did steal the items.
Bigal - 26-Feb-20 @ 1:55 AM
I am up for section 20. I am going not guilty I threw a scooter at my girlfriend but didn't mean to hit her. Can I get a lesser charge
Lee - 25-Feb-20 @ 10:56 AM
Hi, i have been caught on drink driving and it`s my first offence. My breath reading is 75. i did not cause any problem to the police or damage anything, am supposed to appear in court soon. whats going to be the charge and the court outcome?
JJ - 24-Feb-20 @ 10:52 AM
jonesy get to a good lawyer let him help you, i have been through the mill. just be strong and seek the best advice mike
macca - 21-Feb-20 @ 4:11 AM
To the commenter (Derek) I have the same situation pleaded guilty on advise in a so called plea bargain becous if I didn't I was going to jail nievely I took the advise as I didn't want to go to jail I had responsibilities at home my picture is all over the media and life is bad now, I should have fought with a no deal MY ADVISE NEVER PLAY WITH YOUR LIFE AND NEVER TAKE A PLEA BARGAIN
Nick - 10-Feb-20 @ 12:52 AM
Hello I was arrested for pushing my.girlfrend and.taking her house keys in an argument and.i am.being done for theft and assault by beating even tho I pushed her and I was taken to court and put on bail and they said not to contact her and I contacted her and we got into a other argument I pushed her again and threw a laptop and I am now being done for assault by beating theft and breach what am I looking at havent done a crime in eight years and first breech I dont want to goto prison
Jay - 7-Feb-20 @ 12:45 PM
I assaulted my girlfriend whilst I was blacked out due to to much alcohol. I was realised on bail the next day with bail conditions not to see her. I have previous been charged with assault 3 times over the period of 8 years due to alcohol again and been giving fines and community service. I do not want to humiliated my girlfriend anymore and I am taking responsibility for my actions by pleading guilty in court. I am seeking the help of doctors and alcoholism meetings to stay away from alcohol. I have a binge drinking problem along with an anger issue that I want to address and get help for.
Fiona - 26-Jan-20 @ 7:01 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • susie sunshine
    Re: Pre-Sentence Reports
    I was recently in court and the guy was charged with sexual assault and harassment, he went innocent ,but sadly lost it under cross…
    24 May 2024
  • Sprogs
    Re: What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?
    What happens if you don't turn up for a court hearing.. On the 10/04/2024 I attended a court hearing at…
    11 April 2024
  • Shem
    Re: Probation and Community Sentencing
    I've been asking to move office for the last 3 months. My probation office has refused to move me.ive served 2 years on…
    21 March 2024
  • P1P
    Re: Information About Parole Board Hearings
    My son had his parole hearing on 22nd Feb2024, he was granted release, he was told he would be released after a…
    6 March 2024
  • Loger
    Re: Probation and Community Sentencing
    I finished my order in January I am up for breach in April now my order is finished do I have to still attend probation…
    5 March 2024
  • social-issues
    Re: Pre-Sentence Reports
    Hello hk, I can't see what the problem is, unless the subject is planning to be unavailable. If what you are saying is that the Probation…
    28 February 2024
  • Paul778883
    Re: Failure to Attend Jury Service
    I would just ignore the letter. Bin it then if if it does hit the fan just say you never knew. Even then if they call me in I…
    21 February 2024
  • Kim
    Re: Make a Claim in the Small Claims Court
    Elderly parents got a builders quote for works. Agree to price, builder said half up front in cash for materials,…
    15 February 2024
  • Tonks
    Re: What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?
    My partner is in court in Birmingham Crown in June CPS have ordered me to court on this date I've with drawn…
    10 February 2024
  • Jasica
    Re: Handling a Divorce
    Hello I need all kinds of help. But I don't know English so I am going through difficult times. Because I am very weak physically and…
    5 February 2024