Plea bargaining and guilty pleas are a crucial part of the criminal justice system. In 2018, there were approximately 80,000 defendants in criminal cases, and about 2% of them headed to trial. 90% of them, or the vast majority, pleaded guilty, and only 8% of them had their criminal cases dismissed.
Yes, You Need a Lawyer If You’re Considering a Guilty Plea
Whether you should consider exploring a plea offer, and definitely before accepting one, you should at least discuss your case with an experienced Carrollton, GA, criminal defense attorney. When you are charged with any criminal offense, three things could happen, depending on the facts of your case:
- The charges against you will be dropped or dismissed
- You will be offered a plea bargain and decide whether or not to accept it
- Your case will go to court
Even if you are a master at Googling information or an expert at crime dramas, the reality is that you don’t have a law degree and experience to determine the best option for your case. Keep in mind that the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But this task is immensely challenging since it necessitates proper evidence. Also, the prosecution must convince the jury or judge that the evidence against you directly proves that you’re guilty. Your lawyer knows exactly what would happen to you if you get convicted for the charges against you and knows how to deal with them to secure the best possible results for your case.
You might end up having to negotiate the plea deal (which you certainly should not do on your own) or not pleading guilty at all.
But, Should I Consider Plea Offers If I Am Innocent?
Even if you’re innocent, you must talk to your lawyer about plea offers to explore the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing plea offer negotiations. Keep in mind that the prosecution will continue to collect evidence against you over time and may add new charges through superseding indictment. In most cases, defendants change their minds as new evidence against them comes up.
In addition, even if you’re all set to head to trial, plea negotiations could result in your lawyer uncovering valuable information about the case against you, like key witnesses or documents that they will use during your trial.
Talk to a Skilled Carrollton, GA, Criminal Defense Attorney Now
While we always strive to fight for the legal rights of our clients, in some cases, the odds are simply stacked against them that pleading guilty to a lesser charge and punishment is the most viable option. Sadly, many accused offenders choose to negotiate their own plea deals without knowing how the system works or exactly how the plea deal would impact their lives.
So if you’re thinking of pleading guilty, arrange a free case review with our skilled Carrollton, GA, criminal defense lawyer first to learn more about your case. Contact Moffitt Law, LLC, at 762-212-3951 or write to us online.
Guilty Pleas in Criminal Cases FAQ
What are The Different Types of Guilty Pleas?
Not guilty, guilty, and Nolo Contendere. Not guilty and guilty pleas are self-explanatory. With a Nolo Contendere plea, you admit your factual guilt and accept the penalties due to the fact that the evidence against you is strong enough to secure a conviction.
What Happens If I Plead Guilty?
Once the court accepts your guilty plea, it will schedule a date for your sentencing, usually a couple of months later.
Can I Withdraw a Guilty Plea?
You can withdraw a guilty plea prior to the court accepting your guilty plea, after it has accepted your plea but prior to imposing your sentence, or after it has imposed your sentence. Take note, though, that you are free to withdraw your guilty plea at any time and for whatever reason prior to the court accepting your plea. On the other hand, to successfully withdraw a plea before your sentencing, you must show a just and fair reason for the withdrawal.