Should You Plead Guilty to Avoid a Trial?
If you are facing criminal charges and a jail sentence, then you are likely concerned about your legal options and whether you can lower your sentence.
A plea is a criminal defendant’s formal response to the court to the charge they are accused of committing. By entering a plea of guilty, you are telling the court they do not contest a criminal charge. On the other hand, by answering not guilty, you completely deny guilt for the crime, and you agree to a trial.
The plea bargaining process often allows criminal defendants to reduce their sentences and avoid going to trial by pleading guilty. There may be certain terms and conditions associated with the plea deal.
Deciding to plead guilty in your criminal case is arguably the most important decision to make in your criminal case. As such, it is important to know that if you are facing this decision in St. Louis, Missouri, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer in St. Louis throughout the legal process.
Guilty Pleas Rights and Consequences
If you are considering entering a guilty plea, it is critical to have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and the consequences of this option. Some of the things you should consider when deciding how to plead include:
- It is your constitutional right as a criminal defendant to go to trial
- It is also your decision to agree to plead guilty and to do so voluntarily.
- The decision to plead guilty should be made knowingly and intelligently with respect to the benefits and consequences of a guilty plea versus going to trial.
- Sentencing outcomes may be different for those that choose a guilty plea versus a trial. For example, a guilty-plea sentence may be less harsh than the outcome of a trial.
Opting For a Trial
If you decide to go to trial, there is a chance you are taking things that may not turn out the way you expect. For example, if you are convicted at trial, you may possibly receive a harsher sentence. However, this is the major risk you take. The consequence of going to trial is that if you are not in favor of the decision, then you cannot retroactively go back to the point of choosing a guilty plea.
The Value of a Criminal Defense Attorney
It is entirely your decision to take a guilty plea. However, you do not need to be on your own when making this decision. A St. Louis attorney can help you navigate the complex criminal justice process and help you understand your legal options.
Contact a Criminal Defense St. Louis Attorney
While it is entirely your decision to plead guilty or go to trial, it is highly recommended to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. The committed criminal defense St. Louis lawyers at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C possess the experience and skills to properly advise you of your rights and the consequences of a guilty plea or a trial. We are prepared to zealously advocate for your best legal interests. Contact us today for a consultation at 314-646-0066.