For so many people, the law can be extremely confusing and disturbing. If you have committed a crime and face charges for it, you will eventually have to come to a decision that can be life-changing: whether or not to plead guilty to your charge. For example, if you face a possession with intent charge, you might think that the state has a good case against you so you should plead guilty.
You have the absolute right, no matter what the charge is, to require that the State has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You also have the right to plead guilty to a crime for which you have been charged, even if it is not in your best interests.
If you do intend to plead guilty, you might think that securing a lawyer isn’t necessary: you are just going to waste time, effort, and perhaps money. This isn’t the case, however. There are a few reasons to retain a lawyer, even if you plan to plead guilty.
You Need To Understand The Law And The Charge Against You
The first, and probably most important reason to retain a lawyer, in any case, is so that you can understand the charge and the penalties. You need to have all of the details so that you can make the best decision for yourself, your family, and your life.
It is important to note that a lawyer won’t always stop you from pleading guilty – in fact, sometimes we will recommend it. Instead, you will have a better understanding of your case and what consequences you face. When you do go to court, you will know the case that the state has against you and have a good indication of the strength of that case. This way, you can decide on your own free will of what happens next.
Sometimes, You Won’t Have To Plead Guilty
Sometimes, your lawyer will be able to see parts of your case that you don’t realize are important, which can completely change the way you think about pleading guilty. Criminal defense lawyers that have training and experience in specific niches know the law like the back of their hands. They’ve seen the impact of drug cases, and they’ve worked through many of them – meaning they know the defenses, they know the loopholes, and they know where law enforcement makes mistakes.
All too often, people go into the courtroom thinking that the cards are already stacked against them – and in some cases, they are. People see intimidating, powerful prosecutors who they’ve heard about before and immediately think that they’ve lost. Often, prosecutors strive to appear that way even when they don’t have a strong case.
Pleading Guilty Impacts More Than Just Your Bank Account and Freedom
Remember that pleading guilty to charges will impact more than just your freedom or your bank account. Penalties often include jail time and fines, but some charges, specifically drug charges or DUIs, can result in so much more – penalties that can hinder your life.
For example, you may lose your driver’s license, have to sign up for drug classes, receive disciplinary action for your professional license, lose your right to vote or carry a firearm, lose your job, face deportation, impact your parental custody rights, and more. Your insurance rates might go up, your housing options could be limited, or you may face societal scrutiny for the rest of your life.
While these charges may not be part of judicial sentencing, they are negative consequences that will permeate through the rest of your life if you plead guilty.
You Want To Be Able To Negotiate
If you did commit a crime, if you know that the state has a solid case against you, and you know that you will be found guilty, you still want to retain a lawyer. Why? A lawyer will be able to negotiate your plea agreement so that you will be able to keep moving forward.
Know that all plea agreements are not the same and that a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you get less prison time, smaller fines, and even less publicity about your indiscretions. Lawyers have personal relationships within the field and can help to negotiate with the state. Contrary to common belief, judges are not all steadfast in the charges and penalties, but they are much more likely to negotiate with lawyers.
If you have been charged with a crime and you intend to plead guilty, you still need to talk to a lawyer to give yourself the best chance to come out the other side. Give us a call today to get started with one of our skilled lawyers.