Columbia, MD asked in Criminal Law and Appeals / Appellate Law for Maryland

Q: If a waiver of Rights form was filled by the lawyer and not defendant and not filled out entirely is still valid

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: What's valid is your signature under the acknowledgement paragraph that states you have fully read and understand all the rights afforded to you at trial, and that you are knowingly and voluntarily waiving those rights by entering the plea of guilty. What is also valid is your standing silent or assenting to your lawyer's representation that he went through all your rights with you on the form, and you signed it. And finally, the judge will have asked you if you read, understood what was on the form, and may even have run through the rights you are waiving again in open court, and you confirmed to his/her satisfaction that you understood your rights and the effect of entering a plea of guilty. So, the fact that the form was filled in by your lawyer is not really relevant. You do not describe any misleading or incorrect entries on the form that could lead a defendant like yourself to not understand what rights you were waiving, so it is not possible to evaluate that aspect of your question. However, the burden would be on you to establish that whatever was done incorrectly materially prevented you from knowingly, freely and voluntarily waiving a constitutional right, such that your plea would be invalid.

Scott Scherr agrees with this answer

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