When clients want to plead guilty in a criminal case, I try to explain the consequences of doing so. Ultimately it is the client’s decision but I always want to be sure they understand everything that could happen. Often a plea agreement can be reached which lessens the consequences of the original charge and it is important for the client to understand this possibility. It is also important that the client understands the potential consequences on their driver’s license, financial aid for school, and employment opportunities. It is important the client understands that being convicted of a crime is reflected on their criminal history which can have negative consequences after they are sentenced by the court.
Once a person bails out of jail, the case is then scheduled for a pretrial. If a plea is entered at the pretrial the case is then scheduled for sentencing. If the matter cannot be resolved at the pre-trial then the case proceeds to trial.
Most criminal cases are resolved by a plea bargain. Defendants usually receive lighter sentences and/or end up with less serious charges on their records by agreeing to plead guilty. A conservative estimate is that 90% of cases end in plea agreements.
Having a criminal record can affect your ability to be released prior to trial. It can also affect the type of sentence you might receive if you were to lose at trial or in terms of plea negotiations. The worse the record, the more it can affect your case. However, someone with one or two minor offenses, or someone with a very old record, that dates back when they were much younger, will have much less difficulty.
Alternatives to jail include treatment programs for mental health and drug abuse. Treatment is often combined with probation, inpatient or outpatient treatment and/or community service. These are programs to create incentives for success and impose penalties for failing to comply with the terms of the program.
Another alternative to jail includes electronic monitoring, such as ankle bracelet transmitters, with home confinement (house arrest) which allows a defendant to work towards being a productive member of society. Other electronic devices include car ignition locks for drinking and driving offenses.
Other alternative sentences can include boot camps and sobriety courts (for drinking and driving offenses).
When hiring a criminal defense attorney, it is important that he or she be a good listener and pay attention to you and to your story. An immediate red flag would be when the attorney appears distracted. Other red flags are lack of compassion and lack of preparedness. It is important for an attorney in these situations to have compassion to help you make calm rational decisions when your emotions may be running high. Also, if the attorney is not prepared to answer your legal questions should also raise a red flag.
Also, an attorney should never promise his client a specific outcome, no matter how likely that outcome may be.
For more information on Pleading Guilty In A Criminal Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 869-0030 today.