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      CCRP 556     


Art. 556. Plea of guilty or nolo contendere in misdemeanor cases; duty of court

            A. Except as otherwise provided in Paragraph B of this Article or in R.S. 32:57 or in any other applicable law, in a misdemeanor case, if the defendant is not represented by counsel of record, the court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere without first determining that the plea is voluntary and is made with an understanding of the nature of the charge and of his right to be represented by counsel.

            B. In a misdemeanor case in which the court determines that a sentence of imprisonment will actually be imposed or in which the conviction can be used to enhance the grade or statutory penalty for a subsequent offense, the court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere without first addressing the defendant personally in open court and informing him of, and determining that he understands, all of the following:

            (1) The nature of the charge to which the plea is offered, the mandatory minimum penalty provided by law, if any, and the maximum possible penalty provided by law.

            (2) If the defendant is not represented by an attorney, that he has the right to be represented by an attorney at every stage of the proceeding against him and, if financially unable to employ counsel, one will be appointed to represent him.

            (3) That he has the right to have a trial, and if the maximum penalty provided for the offense exceeds imprisonment for six months or a fine of one thousand dollars, a right to trial by a jury or by the court, at his option.

            (4) At that trial he has the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him and the right not to be compelled to incriminate himself.

            (5) That if he pleads guilty or nolo contendere there will not be a further trial of any kind, so that by pleading guilty or nolo contendere he waives the right to a trial.

            C. The court shall require either:

            (1) That a verbatim record of the proceedings at which the defendant enters a plea be made.

            (2) That a form reflecting the court's advice to the defendant and the court's inquiry into the voluntariness of the plea be signed by the court and the defendant and filed in the record at the time of the plea.

            D. Any variance from the procedures required by this Article which does not affect substantial rights of the defendant shall not invalidate the plea.

            E. Nothing in this Article prohibits the court, by local rule, from providing for a defendant's appearance at the entry of his plea of guilty or nolo contendere by simultaneous audio-visual transmission.

            Acts 2001, No. 243, §1; Acts 2017, No. 406, §1; Acts 2020, No. 160, §1.

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