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Difficult Decisions: Should You Plead Guilty or Take Your Case to Trial?

You have a tough decision to make when you’ve been charged with a crime. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument about whether you should plead guilty or not. Here are some of the things that you should consider before you make your decision.

Examine the Evidence

The amount of evidence that is against you may be more than your lawyer can counteract. You have to decide if the evidence is circumstantial or physical in nature. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine if the evidence is solid enough for a conviction. For example, DNA evidence is hard to argue in a courtroom. Your lawyer may be able to come up with a plausible explanation for the evidence that was discovered.

Consider Your Witnesses

The witnesses on both sides of the case can make or break you. Expert witnesses may be able to explain what the evidence is suggesting. If there were any witnesses to the crime, their credibility will need to be taken into account. A highly credible witness that is saying you committed the crime may be hard to forget. This could sway the jury to find you guilty. The problem with juries is that you never know which way the verdict will go.

Take Into Account the Charges

It may be in your best interests to plead guilty to a lesser charge that will carry less jail time, if at all. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re guilty. It can be risky to proceed with a trial since there are so many factors that can affect the outcome. For example, you may be able to take a charge of manslaughter to avoid a murder conviction. There will be the consequences of pleading guilty, but you could be out in a few years versus 20 to life.

Protracted Legal Battle Consequences

In some cases, going through with a prolonged legal fight may be more than you can handle. The severity of the charges generally will determine how long it takes to go to trial. In some instances, it could be years before you get your day in court. Decide how much of an impact this will have on you and your family’s life. People in the community may view you as guilty no matter the outcome at trial. The cost of the legal fees may also be something to consider.

Find a good law firm, such as Walsh Fewkes Sterba, to help you with your case. Going to trial may result in a conviction with severe consequences.

Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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