Should You Plead Guilty to a Crime?
When the state charges you with a crime, you can choose to fight the case against you or to plead guilty. The choice to plead guilty is an extremely important one and involves weighing a number of factors, including whether you believe you committed a crime, the strength of the case against you, and the potential consequences you are facing should you choose to fight the case. While an attorney can advise you as to the relative pros and cons associated with choosing to plead guilty or not, the choice is always up to you.
Pleading Guilty Can Mitigate Your Consequences
Many people wonder why anyone would plead guilty to a crime. Typically, the decision to do so has to do with mitigating and controlling the consequences they are facing. When a person pleads guilty, they usually do so pursuant to a plea bargain with the prosecutor handling the case. When you enter into a plea bargain, the prosecutor agrees to recommend a particular sentence to the judge, and that recommended sentence is typically significantly less than the prosecutor would have pursued had he or she been able to convict you at trial. In this way, pleading guilty allows defendants to avoid a harsh sentence and add a degree of control to the outcome.
Never Plead Guilty without Discussing the Matter with an Attorney
When it comes to deciding to plead guilty, one thing is clear; you should never do without first consulting with a lawyer. Some of the reasons for this include the following:
- You May Fail to Raise Defenses Available to You – Legal defenses can be hard for the untrained eye to spot and extremely difficult for nonlawyers to effectively raise. As a result, if you do not consult with a lawyer, you may fail to raise a defense that could allow you to avoid a conviction.
- Your Guilty Plea is a Bargaining Chip – If you are going to plead guilty, it’s important to have your attorney attempt to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor. Going in and pleading without an agreement in place can result in significantly greater consequences than you would have received had your lawyer talked to the prosecutor.
- You Need to Understand the Potential Consequences – Pleading guilty to a crime can result in serious legal and collateral consequences. For this reason, you need to be absolutely sure about the consequences you are facing before walking into a courtroom and pleading guilty to a crime. Consulting with a lawyer will ensure that you know exactly what you are getting into by choosing to plead guilty.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges in the St. Louis area, you should contact Bruntrager & Billings as soon as you can. Our team of experienced St. Louis criminal defense lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of the accused. Call us today at (314) 646-0066 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.