Alford Plea

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Definition: Alford Plea


Alford Plea


Full Definition of Alford Plea


In the law of the United States, Alford Plea is a plea in criminal court. In this plea, the defendant does not admit the act, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty. Upon receiving an Alford Plea from a defendant, the court may immediately pronounce the defendant guilty. However, in many states, such as Massachusetts, a plea which “admits sufficient facts” more typically results in the case being continued without a finding and later dismissed. It is the appeal of the ultimate dismissal of charges, which engenders most pleas of this type.

This plea originated in the United States Supreme Court case of North Carolina v Alford, 400 US 25. An Alford plea generally has the same effect as a plea of guilty with respect to sentencing, and use of the conviction as an aggravating factor if the defendant is later convicted of another offense. It is not an admission of guilt, and provides one major advantage to defendants: It may not be used later as the basis for civil proceedings seeking monetary or other damages against the defendant, as can a guilty plea.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Alford Plea are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th November, 2021 | 0 Views.