Should You Plead Or Go To Trial On Criminal Charges In Federal Court?
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.