Rule 6.302 Pleas of Guilty and Nolo Contendere

(A) Plea Requirements. The court may not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere unless it is convinced that the plea is understanding, voluntary, and accurate. Before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court must place the defendant or defendants under oath and personally carry out subrules (B)-(E).

(B) An Understanding Plea. Speaking directly to the defendant or defendants, the court must advise the defendant or defendants of the following and determine that each defendant understands:

(1) the name of the offense to which the defendant is pleading; the court is not obliged to explain the elements of the offense, or possible defenses;

(2) the maximum possible prison sentence for the offense and any mandatory minimum sentence required by law, including a requirement for mandatory lifetime electronic monitoring under MCL 750.520b or 750.520c;

(3) if the plea is accepted, the defendant will not have a trial of any kind, and so gives up the rights the defendant would have at a trial, including the right:

(a) to be tried by a jury;

(b) to be presumed innocent until proved guilty;

(c) to have the prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty;

(d) to have the witnesses against the defendant appear at the trial;

(e) to question the witnesses against the defendant;

(f) to have the court order any witnesses the defendant has for the defense to appear at the trial;

(g) to remain silent during the trial;

(h) to not have that silence used against the defendant; and

(i) to testify at the trial if the defendant wants to testify.

(4) if the plea is accepted, the defendant will be giving up any claim that the plea was the result of promises or threats that were not disclosed to the court at the plea proceeding, or that it was not the defendant's own choice to enter the plea;

(5) any appeal from the conviction and sentence pursuant to the plea will be by application for leave to appeal and not by right;

The requirements of subrules (B)(3) and (B)(5) may be satisfied by a writing on a form approved by the State Court Administrative Office. If a court uses a writing, the court shall address the defendant and obtain from the defendant orally on the record a statement that the rights were read and understood and a waiver of those rights. The waiver may be obtained without repeating the individual rights.

(C) A Voluntary Plea.

(1) The court must ask the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer whether they have made a plea agreement.   If they have made a plea agreement, which may include an agreement to a sentence to a specific term or within a specific range, the agreement must be stated on the record or reduced to writing and signed by the parties. The parties may memorialize their agreement on a form substantially approved by the SCAO. The written agreement shall be made part of the case file.

(2) If there is a plea agreement, the court must ask the prosecutor or the defendant’s lawyer what the terms of the agreement are and confirm the terms of the agreement with the other lawyer and the defendant.

(3) If there is a plea agreement and its terms provide for the defendant’s plea to be made in exchange for a sentence to a specified term or within a specified range or a prosecutorial sentence recommendation, the court may

(a) reject the agreement; or

(b) accept the agreement after having considered the presentence report, in which event it must sentence the defendant to a specified term or within a specified range as agreed to; or

(c) accept the agreement without having considered the presentence report; or

(d) take the plea agreement under advisement.

If the court accepts the agreement without having considered the presentence report or takes the plea agreement under advisement, it must explain to the defendant that the court is not bound to follow an agreement to a sentence for a specified term or within a specified range or a recommendation agreed to by the prosecutor, and that if the court chooses not to follow an agreement to a sentence for a specified term or within a specified range, the defendant will be allowed to withdraw from the plea agreement. A judge’s decision not to follow the sentence recommendation does not entitle the defendant to withdraw the defendant’s plea.

(4) The court must ask the defendant:

(a) (if there is no plea agreement) whether anyone has promised the defendant anything, or (if there is a plea agreement) whether anyone has promised anything beyond what is in the plea agreement;

(b) whether anyone has threatened the defendant; and

(c) whether it is the defendant’s own choice to plead guilty.

(D) An Accurate Plea.

(1) If the defendant pleads guilty, the court, by questioning the defendant, must establish support for a finding that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged or the offense to which the defendant is pleading.

(2) If the defendant pleads nolo contendere, the court may not question the defendant about participation in the crime. The court must:

(a) state why a plea of nolo contendere is appropriate; and

(b) hold a hearing, unless there has been one, that establishes support for a finding that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged or the offense to which the defendant is pleading.

(E) Additional Inquiries. On completing the colloquy with the defendant, the court must ask the prosecutor and the defendant's lawyer whether either is aware of any promises, threats, or inducements other than those already disclosed on the record, and whether the court has complied with subrules (B)-(D). If it appears to the court that it has failed to comply with subrules (B)-(D), the court may not accept the defendant's plea until the deficiency is corrected.

(F) Plea Under Advisement; Plea Record. The court may take the plea under advisement. A verbatim record must be made of the plea proceeding.