Pleading Guilty Vs. Going to Trial

Should you enter a guilty plea or fight it out in court? That’s a question that many people ask themselves after they have been accused of a crime. There can be benefits and drawbacks to either option. Making the choice between the two is a serious matter and should be given plenty of thought. The final decision should only be made after consultation with an experienced attorney.

What Happens When You Plead Guilty?

It’s impossible to know if a defendant should enter a guilty plea without knowing all the facts of the case. However, it’s helpful to understand what will happen when a guilty plea is entered. A guilty plea means:

  • An automatic conviction
  • Legal consequences
  • A criminal record

Entering a guilty plea might have some positive effects as well. For example, a defendant might choose to enter a guilty plea as part of a plea deal. This could result in reduced charges or leniency from the court. It’s important to hire a lawyer to negotiate the terms of a plea deal.

What Happens When You Go to Trial?

If a defendant chooses to go to trial, they will have to do several things. These can include:

  • Presenting evidence
  • Making statements on record
  • Finding witnesses

If you can hire a good lawyer, you have a better chance of a successful outcome at trial. An experienced lawyer may be able to uncover strong evidence, find credible witnesses and discover weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Going to trial can result in dropped charges and a clean criminal record. However, going to trial usually means that you will lose any chance at a reduced sentence through a plea deal. It’s an important decision that must be made carefully.

Should I Plead Guilty or Go to Trial?

Only an attorney can help you answer that question. It all depends on the circumstances of the case. For example, if a person robbed a store and was identified by the store owner, caught on security camera footage and found in possession of the stolen merchandise, there isn’t a good chance of a successful trial outcome. In that case, entering a guilty plea for a reduced sentence might be the best option.

However, if a person was accused of robbing a store but another person of a similar description might have been to blame, it might be worth going to trial. The defense attorney can introduce evidence that points to the other person as the guilty party.

To find out how to handle your case, contact an experienced attorney and set up an initial consultation to discuss the facts.