What Does it Mean to Plead Guilty to a Crime?
1 year ago by Brian
People commit crimes for a variety of reasons. While some are life-long offenders who hardly think twice about violating the law, many find themselves in trouble with the law under circumstances they regret or due to wrongful allegations. In either situation, you want the criminal defense law firm of JS Defense on your side.
The Criminal Law Process
When the police have probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime, they will usually arrest them and arraign them in court. Arraigning in court simply means the police will bring the arrested individual to court to have the charges against them read in court by the judge.
At this point, the arrested person is now referred to as the “defendant.” Once the judge reads the charges, the defendant will have an option to admit the charges or to deny them. They can also admit to some of the charges and deny some of them.
Once the arraignment is over, and if the defendant pleads not guilty, the defendant will either be remanded to custody pending trial, or a judge can set a bond which the defendant can pay to get released.
Whether the defendant is released or detained on bond pending trial, the case will go to trial, which may be weeks or months away, and in between, there may be several pre-trial hearings where various legal issues are argued and decided by the presiding judge.
Some defendants opt to plead guilty instead of having the case go to trial. Pleading guilty means the defendant admits to everything they are being charged with.
Pros of Pleading Guilty
If the defendant does not wait to have their case heard at a trial, which may take a year or more, they may opt to have the case resolved more quickly, and the quickest way to do so is by having their lawyer negotiate for the best possible plea they can obtain given the facts in their case.
Another benefit of pleading guilty is the defendant might spend less for a criminal defense lawyer if the case does not have to be taken to trial. If the facts of the case are such that there is a strong likelihood that the defendant will be found guilty at trial, taking a plea offered is wiser and will save the defendant the money they would have to spend to pay their lawyer to take a case to trial they are likely to lose.
Pleading guilty also means the lawyer can negotiate with the government to get the best possible terms for the defendant not to do time or to do the absolute minimum time the lawyer can have the government agree to, which is not possible if the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted.
Speak with a Woodbury, MN Criminal Defense Attorney
While some people benefit from plea agreements, others have circumstances in which pleading guilty is detrimental to their future. Never plead guilty without first speaking with a criminal defense firm like JS Defense. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us for a free consultation.