Should You Plead or Go to Trial on Criminal Charges in Federal Court?
Should You Plead or Go to Trial on Criminal Charges in Federal Court?
If you have been accused of a federal crime, consider your options and try to determine the best course of action. We understand that this stage of the case can be confusing and may make you feel overwhelmed and fearful. Working with the best federal defense lawyer significantly lessens the pressure on you during the initial stage of your case. The lawyer will be able to provide you with all of the necessary information, which enables you to make wise decisions that will positively impact your future. If you need help deciding whether you should plead or go to trial on criminal charges in federal court, reach out to our defense team. We are always available to ensure you don’t get locked into an unfavorable position before you are completely aware of all of the available options.
Cooperating with the Government and Pleading Guilty in a Federal Criminal Case
If you work with the government, it could potentially result in a reduced sentence or even keep you out of jail altogether. This option is often enticing to defendants as it promises the opportunity of receiving a significant benefit for sharing information. On the surface, it seems like a good deal. However, there are actually a few problems. In order to cooperate with the government, you have to plead guilty and you are not guaranteed a reward for working with them. You may not even receive a slight sentence reduction if the evidence you provide is not enough to catch someone else. Being locked into a guilty plea without an assurance that you will get something in return is not always the best approach to your defense. Have a lawyer on your side to review the details of your case and help you make smart decisions.
Going to Trial on Federal Criminal Charges
Going to trial may be the best course of action if you believe you are innocent and want to clear your name. Fighting against charges is time consuming and difficult, and there is nothing worse than being pressured into a guilty plea when you have not committed a crime. This is why it is important to have an attorney on your side that you can trust. Your attorney will assess the specifics of your case and guide you in making a decision on whether or not going to trial would be beneficial to you. Having a defense lawyer who is heavily involved towards your course of action directly impacts the outcome of your case.
Let our defense team of brightest legal minds battle for you. If you are trying to decide whether you should plead guilty and cooperate with the government or go to trial, get in touch with us for a free initial case consultation. Every case is unique, and it is impossible to determine the most beneficial route without carefully reviewing the details of your case and all of the laws that come into play. Our skilled defense lawyers are dedicated to protecting your welfare and willing to devote the time and energy necessary to develop a solid approach to your defense. We will thoroughly conduct our own investigation and figure out what information the government has on you to hopefully find out whether or not they have enough evidence to get a conviction, and what other options may be on the table. Our comprehensive approach will enable you to make the decisions that will lead you towards the most favorable result.
Contact Us for Federal Criminal Defense
The early stages of your federal criminal case are extremely important and will directly affect the outcome of your legal battle. Get in touch with our defense team if you are in need of trustworthy legal advice. With extensive experience in federal criminal cases, our trusted licensed defense attorneys are willing to go above and beyond to make sure you receive quality legal defense, no matter what charges you face. We understand the laws that surround federal criminal cases and will be able to explain your options to you in a way that makes sense and puts the power back in your hands. Call our toll free number or send us a message online to get started.
When facing federal charges, you will have to wrestle with the decision to plead guilty or no contest or go trial. This decision isn’t necessarily based on whether or not you’re guilty. It can also depend on circumstances such as the sentencing you would face if you plead guilty or no contest compared to going to trial as well as the likelihood of winning your case.
Is There Enough to Convict Me?
If you’re facing federal charges, then there’s feasibly enough to convict you. Federal prosecutors are very meticulous and will not bring up charges if they don’t believe they have a good chance of winning the case. However, that doesn’t mean you should give in automatically. Your decision to go to trial or not depends on how you feel about your chances of success, based on the circumstances of your case.
What Does Your Attorney Think?
As soon as you’re aware of a federal investigation against you, you should be consulting with an attorney. They should have prior experience in advising defendants in federal court. You should not make any legal decision without first speaking to your attorney. While they might have an idea about what should be done, you should offer your point-of-view too. If your attorney is adamant that there’s no option but for you to take a plea, then you should listen. You might consider relinquishing their services, but it’s very likely that the attorney you hire in their stead would give you the same answer.
Finding the Right Attorney
You don’t want to retain the services of any attorney who gives you a guarantee of either conviction or acquittal. The law is a complicated matter, even with cases that have a very strong possibility of conviction. Your attorney should be given plenty of time to review your case. Don’t ask them to do so a day before you need to enter your plea. You should also be prepared for them to give you an answer you don’t necessarily want to hear. Facing criminal charges means you need to be prepared for a possible negative outcome and handle it in a mature manner.
When to Take a Plea
There’s no hard and fast rule for when to take a plea. There have been cases that seemed like they would result in a certain conviction that ended in acquittal. However, there are incentives for taking a plea. One is a reduced sentence compared to what could happen if you were to go to trial and be convicted. Another incentive is prosecutors potentially cutting a deal based on your cooperation in terms of acts like testifying against others who have been indicted in your case.
When to Go to Trial
The decision to go to trial can be a daunting one. Even if you’re innocent, the thought of losing and facing a lengthy sentence is enough to make many decide that taking a plea would be the wiser choice. Additionally, even if your sentence is short, the repercussions of being a convicted felon could greatly affect your ability to live a normal life upon your release, such as being able to acquire housing or have stable employment. You will know in your heart what decision is best. Talking things over with your attorney will help to build your confidence in your case. The only way to be acquitted is to go to trial. This means taking a gamble, but it’s a gamble that can greatly pay off.
The decision to go to plead guilty or no contest or go to trial should not be made lightly. You need to weigh all the options and choose whichever one you feel the strongest about. The consultation of your attorney is also hugely important. Your case can have a huge impact on your future, so it’s imperative that you consider every aspect of your plea.
What Happens When I Accept a Plea Agreement?
Exactly what constitutes a plea agreement? A plea agreement is a contract in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a charge against them in exchange for concessions from the prosecution. These concessions could include a concession to accept a lower sentence or an agreement to allow you to plead guilty to a lesser crime than the one with which you were originally charged. That said, it is important to understand that if you take a plea bargain, you will be waiving your own constitutional rights, including the right to a trial by jury, the right not to incriminate yourself, the right to confront, challenge, and cross-examine your accusers, and in some cases, even your right to appeal.
A plea agreement requires the approval of a judge. The approval process commences when the defendant and his counsel appear in court and show the arrangement that they arrived at with the prosecutor to the judge. At that time, the judge asks a series of questions to make certain that the defendant fully understands the consequences connected with a plea bargain. The judge will also ensure that the defendant is willfully entering their plea without of any open questions or reservations. Here is the judge’s “checklist”:
Assuring the defendant’s competence,
Confirmation that the defendant has completely read the agreement and fully understands what it says,
Confirmation that the defendant’s acceptance of the plea is voluntary,
Making sure the defendant is aware of what the maximum penalty for the offense he is confessing to is,
Giving a full reading of the formal charges against the defendant,
Notifying the defendant of all the necessary steps for the obligatory pre-sentencing report, and finally
Setting a date for sentencing.
Although in most cases, the judge will feel certain that the prosecutor and the defendant are proposing satisfactory terms, the judge ultimately has the final say over the plea agreement. The judge has the power to rule on whether the bargain is sufficient or if it should be changed in any way. If you are facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer with a good track record of working with prosecutors will be capable of advising you if it makes sense for you to accept a plea agreement. While under some circumstances, a plea bargain may be the best option for avoiding more severe sentences, there are times when fighting charges and going to trial may be the only way to exit the criminal case with your freedom.
Call our offices to get a consultation with an experienced attorney.