If you are a defendant in a criminal case, it can be very difficult to decide whether to plead guilty or go to trial particularly if you are innocent of the crime. Many innocent individuals plead guilty in order to avoid the substantial risks of being found guilty by a judge or jury. Before making the life-altering decision, it is important to discuss the matter with a criminal defence lawyer.
The advantages of pleading guilty
If you plead guilty to a criminal case, it means that you are ready to confront the case. You want to resolve the case more quickly instead of waiting for a year or more for a trial. The services of a lawyer can be expensive particularly if the case goes to trial. You spend less on lawyer’s fees if the case does not go to trial.
If you plead guilty while being represented by legal counsel, you can go through the process called plea bargaining. The criminal defence lawyer and the prosecutor will reach an agreement on the sentence that you will receive. In exchange for pleading guilty, you may be given a lighter sentence or reduction in the charges.
Disadvantages of pleading guilty
However, the problem with pleading guilty is juries can be unpredictable. There is also the risk of the prosecutor uncovering additional evidence that can result in a conviction. If you are a public figure, a trial can easily gain the attention of the media. You and your family can be subjected to unwanted attention.
If you are innocent of the crime, you might be subjected to criminal punishment like jail time and fines for a crime that you did not commit. You will have a criminal record that can have a negative effect on your life.
It is the judge and not the prosecutor who is responsible for sentencing. If the judge does not like the sentence suggested by the prosecutor and the criminal defence lawyer, he can reject it and impose a stronger sentence.
What happens if the case goes to trial?
If the case goes to trial, you and your lawyer will have more time to prepare for defence. If you are innocent of the crime, there is a very likely chance that you will be acquitted and set free without any criminal record or responsibility.
Another advantage is you will receive all the benefits provided by the constitution for defendants. You will be presumed innocent during the proceedings. The prosecutor has the burden of proof to prove that every element of the crime is beyond reasonable doubt. The higher standard required by a court helps defendants get an acquittal. However, you will only have the best defence on your side if you choose a well experienced criminal defence lawyer who has a reputation for achieving the best results for his clients.
If you are facing criminal charges, your best option is to visit https://jagvirklawyers.com/ that has expertise in all the facets of the criminal law. You will have someone to guide you through the intricacies and complexities of the criminal justice system.