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Should I Just Plead Guilty to Avoid Going to Trial?

Going to trial can cause some anxiety and uncertainty. The unknown about the outcome can be too much for some people to deal with. Pleading guilty does speed up the process of your case, however, there are still a few downfalls to just rushing through this decision. Consider some of these factors.

You will lose the right to have a trial

If you plead guilty, you are waiving your rights to take your case to trial. You should consider if the charges can even be proven against you. If they cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then maybe a trial is a good idea and strategizing with your attorney about the pros and cons will help you make your decision.

You will have a criminal record

By pleading guilty, you are knowingly, voluntarily, and freely agreeing that you will have a criminal record and you understand the consequences attached thereto. You may serve time in prison or county jail, pay fines and/or restitution, and comply with any other terms and conditions imposed. You will also have to deal with the collateral consequences of a plea such as effects on employment, immigration, custody disputes, and more.

It can potentially eliminate the chance of an appeal

Courts want to protect themselves against defendants who voluntarily enter a plea deal, but then later decide they want to go to trial instead. When you enter a plea you waive your right to have second thoughts. Unless there was some prejudicial error you cannot take back your decision to enter your plea so it’s critical that you have weighed your options out with your attorney.

It can cause poor investigatory procedures

Pleading too early may result in a truncated investigation in your case. You may be harming yourself if you rush too quickly into a deal without allowing your attorney to carry out full investigations and request additional discovery. It is oftentimes possible for a deal to get better if your attorney has time to discover new information.

You should only consider pleading guilty if you have reviewed your options with your experienced attorney. You and your attorney will weigh the pros and cons and choose the option that is best for you. Consider all these factors before making such an important decision. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options if you are facing criminal charges. At the Nieves Law Firm, we understand that charges can arise for various reasons and we are here to help. Feel free to call us today for a free consultation!

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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