Courtroom drama TV has made guilty pleas so simplistic that many people are miserably misinformed about the consequences of such a decision. In fact, some innocent individuals take this route, fearing the greater risk of going to trial. What they realize in the end is that there are far more terrible consequences on that end. This is why if you’re charged with a crime, the best thing to do is to know every legal remedy available for you so you can come up with an informed decision.
When You Plead Guilty
It’s the lawyer’s sworn duty to provide criminal defendants as much information as possible on the potential consequences of all legal options. When you decide to plead guilty, your attorney should be able to inform you that this would mean not having time to wait for sentencing. The case will progress quickly through the judicial system.
Obviously, this won’t be the best choice if you haven’t gotten your affairs in order yet. In this instance, your attorney might recommend pleading guilty later. You also have to remember that not all prosecutors enter into a plea bargain with criminal defendants. When they think they won’t have an incentive in the agreement, they would obviously avoid that route. Thus, pleading guilty will only make you miss out on a potential plea bargain that offers better terms, say, a conviction under a serious less serious offense or reduced sentence. It would be better for you to proceed towards the trial until you get a promising agreement.
Of course, beyond the legal consequences, pleading guilty will affect your social life. For instance, you can have your professional license revoked. You might have trouble finding a job later, or you can hurt your chances in the dating world once you served your time. That said, it’s important to sit down with criminal lawyers and other Kent legal practitioners since consulting with them will let you know which options are best for your situation and goals. The bottom line is don’t plead guilty unless you’re fully informed.
When You Go to Trial
In the event that you do decide not to plead and instead go through a trial, make sure that you prepare yourself for a long, hard battle. Even before the legal proceedings start, you may have to deal with a lot of delays, like the court pushing back the date of hearing. While that may seem like a disadvantage, a real-life limbo causing anxiety, in essence, it will be to your benefit since it gives you more time to sort things with your family and your job, and of course, your case. It will give you hope and confidence that you can get through this difficult season in your life.
Perhaps the greatest benefit in going to trial instead of pleading guilty is that you’re perceived innocent during the proceedings. The prosecution bears the burden of proof, taking on the immense task of establishing the crime that you did beyond a reasonable doubt. The high standards of criminal law can increase the chances of a not-guilty verdict.
It’s tricky to know whether you should plead guilty or not. It’s even more difficult to decide when you’re uninformed or misinformed about the consequences of your decisions. That said, better consult a reliable criminal defense attorney to know what your options are. And your criminal defense lawyer would do everything in his knowledge and power to help you receive a not-guilty verdict.
For more articles on success from SDG Young Leaders, click here!