6 Things To Consider When Deciding To Plead Guilty In A Criminal Case
Being charged with a crime is a life-changing experience. One of the most challenging decisions in a criminal case is deciding whether to plead guilty or not. Pleading guilty can have long-lasting consequences, both in terms of legal and personal implications.
If you are facing criminal charges, you want to make the best decision for yourself. You might want to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our Georgia criminal defense lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers can review the facts of your case and ensure that you make a well-informed decision pertaining to pleading guilty or not guilty.
What to Consider When Deciding to Plead Guilty?
According to the Vera Institute of Justice, most criminal cases that result in conviction are adjudicated through a guilty plea. There are at least six things you should consider when deciding to plead guilty in your criminal case.
1. What Does Your Lawyer Say You Should Do?
Your lawyer is your legal representative, and it is their job to guide you through the legal process. They will assess the evidence against you, evaluate the strength of the case, and provide you with legal advice on whether to plead guilty or not. Your lawyer has your best interest in mind and will advise you on the best course of action, given the circumstances.
2. Once You Plead Guilty, You Will Not Be Able to Take Back the Plea
It is critical to understand that once you plead guilty, you cannot take back the plea. You may regret the decision later, but you will not be able to undo it. Therefore, before pleading guilty, consider all the pros and cons, and make the decision with a clear and rational mind.
3. You Will Have a Permanent Criminal Record
Pleading guilty in a criminal case means that you will have a permanent criminal record. A criminal record can have significant consequences, including difficulties in finding employment, housing, as well as potential problems with citizenship or visa status. Therefore, carefully weigh the consequences of having a criminal record before pleading guilty.
4. You Will Have to Face a Possible Sentence
Pleading guilty means that you accept responsibility for the charges against you. As a result, you will have to face a possible sentence, which may include fines, community service, probation, or even imprisonment. Again, your lawyer can provide you with an idea of the sentence you may face, and you should carefully consider the consequences before making a decision.
5. There May Be Defense Strategies to the Charges You Face
Before pleading guilty, consider whether there are any defense strategies that may apply in your case. Your lawyer can assess the evidence and determine if there are any legal arguments that can help reduce or even dismiss the charges against you.
6. Is a Plea Bargain Favorable?
In many criminal cases, the prosecution may offer a plea bargain – where the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence or reduced charges. Before accepting a plea bargain, consider whether it is favorable and if it is worth accepting. Your lawyer can evaluate the plea bargain and help you make an informed decision.
Get Guidance from a Lawyer
Deciding to plead guilty in a criminal case is a critical decision with long-lasting legal and personal consequences. Consider the above six things before making your decision, and always seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Our lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers can guide you through the legal process and ensure that you make the best decision in your specific case. We serve Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Cobb County, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Johns Creek. Call 770-685-6400 to get a free case review.