The Vastness of the Law

Planning To Plead Guilty? Why You Should Still Hire A Criminal Law Attorney

There are several different reasons why an individual may choose to plead guilty when being charged with a crime. In some cases the evidence against an individual simply may be overwhelming, while other individuals may feel compelled by their conscience to plead guilty to a crime they have committed. If you are planning to plead guilty to criminal charges, it is important that you realize this decision does not eliminate your need to retain the services of a criminal law attorney. This is because criminal court proceedings involve more than simply deciding innocence or guilt. Consequently, there are several different ways in which you can still benefit from the services of a criminal law attorney even if you choose to not fight the charges against you.

Entering A Plea Of No Contest Rather Than Guilty

In some cases, a judge will be willing to accept a plea of no contest rather than requiring a plea of guilty or not guilty. While a plea of no contest will have the same consequences as a plea of guilty when it comes to sentencing, it can have a slightly different impact on how your case if perceived by potential employers or other individuals who run a background check on you in the future. While a plea of guilty is legally the same as being convicted by a jury, a plea of no contest does not have the same legal standing as a conviction. Instead, this plea simply indicates that you chose to accept punishment rather than fighting the charges against you. Working with a criminal attorney to resolve your case can help you to determine whether or not this option is available to you and if choosing to utilize this option is in your best interest. 

Plead To A Lesser Charge

A criminal law attorney may also be able to help you secure a lighter sentence or minimize the long-term impact your guilty plea will have on your life by working with the prosecutor in your case to reach a plea deal that involves you pleading to a lesser charge. What this means is that the prosecutor will agree to charge you with a less-serious crime in exchange for your willingness to plead guilty. In some cases this can mean the difference between going to jail and getting probation or community service as a sentence. 

Sentencing Considerations

If you are planning to plead guilty, you will inevitably be sentenced for the crime that you plead guilty to. However, the prosecutor or judge in your case may be willing to offer some accommodations when handing down your sentence in exchange for your guilty plea. These accommodations are often referred to as sentencing considerations and can include things such as serving your jail term in a specific facility or the granting of a furlough prior to your incarceration in order to allow you to get your affairs in order. A criminal defense attorney can help you to secure these types of considerations.