The admonishments and advisements given by a judge to a criminal defendant prior to accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere. The plea colloquy is intended to ensure that the defendant is making the plea knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.
The court has a duty to ascertain that the defendant has been apprised of the direct consequences arising from the plea including the nature of the permissible punishment and the loss of rights otherwise available, such as the right to a jury trial. This duty may be expressly imposed by constitutional provision, statute, or court rule or implied by law as a corollary to the right of the accused to be fully informed of the nature of the charges against him.
During the plea colloquy, the judge, or other judicial official, usually addresses the defendant directly in open court. If it is determined that the defendant has not been provided with information reasonably calculated to inform a person of ordinary intelligence of the effects, consequences and results of the plea, the court must advise him or her as to such consequences and legal effects.
See Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969).