Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Going to Plead Guilty to a Crime?
If you’re facing criminal charges, you might consider pleading guilty to improve your chances of a lighter sentence. Maybe you think that pleading guilty is better than going through a trial with an outcome that’s far more uncertain.
Do you really need a criminal attorney, though? You are not legally required to hire a lawyer but learning why hiring a criminal defense lawyer could be the smartest thing you can do.
Pleading Guilty Can Come with Serious Consequences
While it’s true that pleading guilty can result in a lighter sentence, doing so brings consequences you need to consider.
When you plead guilty, you’ll end up with a criminal record that can follow you for the rest of your life. Your record can make it hard to find a job or housing. If you’d like to go to college, you won’t be able to take out federal loans to help pay for it.
Pleading guilty may mean you’ll have to pay expensive fines or spend time in jail. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to argue for a reduced sentence, so don’t make a plea until you’ve spoken with your attorney first.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you intend to plead guilty, it’s smart to have an experienced guilty plea criminal attorney at your side. Here’s how your lawyer can help.
Delaying Proceedings Against You
When you plead guilty, the court will hand down its sentence shortly afterwards. This can cause problems for you if you need to make preparations before the court imposes your sentence.
For example, you may need some time to organize your family member’s finances so they can afford rent and bills while you’re incarcerated. A criminal defense lawyer will work to delay proceedings by strategizing the timing of your guilty plea.
What can you do if the prosecutor says they have a strong case against you? You might think you have no choice but to plead guilty, but this situation may not be as hopeless as it seems.
Your lawyer may be able to track down evidence that proves your innocence or establish an alibi that determines you were somewhere else at the time of the crime.
Some prosecutors might present flimsy evidence that doesn’t point to your guilt. An experienced lawyer may be able to have this evidence thrown out, which could strengthen your case.
Is there a witness who swears they saw you at the scene of the crime? Witnesses don’t always remember details clearly, and some of them simply lie. If your lawyer can prove that a witness lied or misinterpreted the facts, it often plays very favorably with a jury.
Plea Deal Negotiation
If the prosecutor pressures you to accept a plea deal, you might feel as though you need to make a decision right away. But it’s almost always smarter to talk to your own lawyer before you agree to anything.
Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for a lighter sentence. Instead of serving three years in prison, you might only need to serve one.
When to Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer
It’s wise to call a guilty plea criminal attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Doing so allows your lawyer to start working on your case right away, which could lead to a better outcome for you.
If you’re facing criminal charges, your future is at stake. Don’t risk going through this process alone — contact Michael White, P.A., in Florida, for help. Call (954) 270-0769 for a free consultation on your case today.