Do I Need a Lawyer Even if I’m Planning on Pleading Guilty?
If you are facing criminal charges, there are plenty of reasons to retain a lawyer, even if you are planning to plead guilty. Under our country’s criminal justice system, everyone deserves a vigorous defense. Even if you plead guilty to a crime, you are entitled to fair process, a just sentence, and protection of your rights under the Constitution. It is in your best interests to speak with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What Does It Mean to Plead Guilty to a Crime?
Pleading guilty to a charge means you are admitting you committed a crime and agreeing to be sentenced by a judge in court. Pleading no contest means you are accepting conviction and admit the truth of the facts alleged in the indictment, but do not admit guilt. If the evidence against you is strong, it may be your best option to plead guilty or no contest and negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. However, you should not plead guilty without first consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can advise you on whether you are better off fighting the charges.
What Is a Plea Bargain and What Are the Pros and Cons?
The government is often overloaded with cases to prosecute. The prosecution may offer you a plea bargain to avoid going to trial. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for an agreement to drop other charges or for a more lenient sentence. There are advantages and disadvantages to plea bargaining. Your attorney can advise you on your best option.
- Pros of a plea bargain: You avoid going through a trial. Your exposure to stiffer penalties and a lengthier sentence may be reduced.
- Cons of a plea bargain: You are pleading guilty to a crime. A judge will ultimately decide your penalties. You will have a criminal conviction on your record.
Plea bargains often involve no contest pleas. Essentially, this has the same effect as a guilty plea. There may be advantages to pleading no contest, but it will not affect a potential jail sentence.
How Can a Lawyer Help Even If You Are Planning to Plead Guilty?
Having a skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney in your corner can work to your advantage, even if you plan to plead guilty. Your lawyer can:
- Protect your rights during a police investigation
- Prevent you from accidentally incriminating yourself
- Protect you from an illegal police search of your property
- Help you better understand the charges against you
- Evaluate the strength of the evidence against you
- Determine what defenses are available
- Negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution
- Advise you on whether to accept a plea bargain
- Petition the judge for leniency in sentencing
Why Is It Important to Hire an Experienced Lawyer?
The importance of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney cannot be overstated. A skilled criminal lawyer can work to help reduce the penalties you are facing, get your charges dismissed, or help prove your innocence to avoid a conviction on your record.
At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have more than 30 years of experience. Our founding attorney, James Dicks, is a former LAPD police officer and narcotics investigator, who uses his experience and knowledge to his clients’ advantage. He is a board-certified criminal law specialist who has demonstrated his skill and expertise by providing clients with the best defense possible.
If you are facing criminal charges, do not hesitate to get the skilled criminal defense you need. Contact our firm at (760) 630-2000.
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