Are you facing criminal charges? If so, it may feel like the odds are against you. You may be facing significant fines and even time in jail. You may feel like it’s a good idea to fight criminal charges in front of a jury; however, it may seem easier to plead guilty or accept a plea deal.
Before you make a decision that may affect you for the rest of your life, it’s smart to contact a criminal defense attorney. Even if you decide that a plea agreement is the right option for you, your criminal lawyer can review the facts related to your case and help build a strong defense that may help you achieve a more favorable outcome.
Also, if you decide to move forward and go to trial with your case, they can gather and present evidence, question evidence presented by the prosecution, and cross-examine witnesses. All this is done to help you protect your rights and persuade a jury that you are innocent.
Are you still unsure about the best option for your criminal charges? If so, keep reading. Here you can learn more about the benefits of working with an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer.
Benefits Offered by Negotiating a Plea Deal
There are several benefits offered when you decide to negotiate a plea deal. Some of these include:
If you decide to negotiate a plea deal with the help of your attorney, it may result in a lighter sentence. When you negotiate a plea bargain, the prosecution may talk about the maximum sentence the jury could try to impose if you move forward with a trial.
When you hire a criminal defense attorney, it may be possible to reduce your prison sentence if you agree to plead guilty to some or all the charges you are facing.
Faster Closure for Your Case
Some criminal cases take months or years to finalize. During this time, it’s possible that you will experience a range of emotions from exhaustion and fear to stress and anxiety. When you negotiate a plea deal, it’s possible to expedite this process and start moving forward. This is true even if you are facing jail time. Sometimes, not knowing what will happen is worse than the actual sentencing you receive.
If you decide to go to trial, the decision of if you are convicted is put in the hands of the jury. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case is smart; however, there’s no way to know how a jury is going to react to the witness testimony and evidence that is used against you. When you accept a plea deal, you can retain some control over the results of your case.
Potential Disadvantages of Pleading Guilty to Criminal Charges
If you decide to plead guilty without having a trial, there are some possible disadvantages that you may face. These include:
You Give Up Certain Constitutional Rights
After pleading guilty, you will no longer have the right to go to trial. That means you can’t challenge evidence presented by the prosecution, tell your story, call witnesses, or do anything else. It’s important to remember that in criminal cases, the prosecution must prove you are guilty – you don’t have to prove you are innocent.
If you plead guilty, you can resolve your case faster. However, it may mean that you don’t have as much time to prepare for a jail sentence. Also, judges and prosecutors may be required by law to impose a minimum sentence. This all depends on the criminal charge you are facing. While you may have negotiated a plea deal, the state has minimal discretion when determining what sentence you receive.
Deciding to plead guilty, even if no time in jail is involved, comes with serious consequences. For example, when you plead guilty, you will have a criminal record. This can impact your ability to find work, get certain professional licenses, or secure loans. If you and your lawyer believe that you have a strong defense, then moving forward with a trial may be the best option.
Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you decide you want to plead guilty, several risks are involved. It is smart to hire an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney to help with your case. They will help you decide if accepting a plea agreement is best for your situation.
Even if you have already made a decision about whether you will plead guilty or not, it is important to have an attorney representing you to protect your rights.