When you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the decision whether to accept a plea bargain or go to trial is a serious matter, one that should be discussed immediately with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An experienced attorney will begin preparing for a trial as soon as he is hired by a client even though there is the chance the case my never go to trial. He knows that although the case may never be heard in court, to best serve his client, he needs to prepare as though it will.
At the same time your attorney prepares for a trial, he should also be working a parallel path as to what’s the optimum resolution in your particular case. If you do opt for a trial instead of accepting a plea bargain, is there a good chance you might be convicted and thus incur a lengthy sentence? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case? How strong are the witnesses? Are there pretrial motions which may keep out illegally obtained or otherwise impermissible evidence? These are issues a client and his attorney should discuss in detail before arriving at the decision of whether or not to turn down a plea bargain and opt for a trial.
When discussing your case, your attorney will find out what outcome in your specific case is of the greatest importance to you. Do you want to avoid any jail time whatsoever? Do you want to avoid being convicted of a felony, a crime in which you may lose your license, your job, or your ability to work in a particular profession? In New York, you can plead guilty to a violation, which is not considered a crime for purposes of a criminal record. Is this something you desire? All of these are pertinent and important issues an experienced attorney should discuss with his client to ascertain what approach is best to take.
When facing criminal charges, you need the representation of a skilled, aggressive criminal defense attorney who will immediately begin preparing your case for trial, and who will also begin preparing alternate approaches as well to reach the optimum resolution in your criminal case.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia by Jerrye & Roy Klotz MD.