7 Important Factors to Consider Before Pleading Guilty to a Crime

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Are you facing criminal charges or under investigation for a crime? When charged with a crime, you might worry about what to do next. A criminal lawyer can guide you through the process and provide peace of mind during this stressful time.

Know that an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer understands the importance of evidence and how it affects the outcome in criminal law. Before you plead guilty, contact our team at Bangerter Law Office in Willoughby, Ohio. Keep reading to find out more about what to consider before pleading guilty.

7 Factors Criminal Defense Lawyers Want You to Know Before You Plead Guilty

If you get charged with a crime and incriminating evidence exists against you, you may think you should plead guilty. However, criminal cases vary, and many factors contribute to the outcome. Before you plead guilty, consider the following:

1. You Have a Right to a Criminal Attorney

Under the stress of criminal charges, some people believe they should plead guilty. Initially, this may feel like the best or only option.

However, even if you feel that way, you still maintain the right to legal counsel. Whether you believe you are guilty or not, you are entitled to a fair trial and an attorney who will represent your interests. Thus, even if you can’t afford an attorney, the court must provide you with legal counsel.

2. Admitting Guilt to Your Attorney Is Not the Same as Pleading Guilty in Court

Most criminal defense attorneys expect their clients to be truthful about the facts of the case. A defense attorney will not provide less representation simply because the client is suspected of committing a crime. The attorney is concerned about whether there is enough evidence to prove you committed the crime. It is not the criminal defense attorney’s responsibility to determine whether the client is innocent or guilty. That is a matter for the jury or judge. The attorney’s role is to act as the client’s advocate and ensure that the client receives a fair trial.

3. Honest Communication With Your Attorney Will Help Them Defend Your Case

Typically, your attorney will want to know as much information about you (the criminal defendant) and the case’s evidence. After all, your lawyer can only defend you based on what they know.

If you continue to want to plead guilty, you should still consult with an attorney. Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor and help you negotiate based on your guilty plea. Ultimately, you have many options beyond pleading guilty and accepting the punishment issued by the court.

4. The Prosecutor Must Be Able to Prove Your Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

If you decide not to plead guilty to your charge, the only way the court could convict you is if the prosecutor proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you enter a jury trial, the jury must unanimously find you guilty.

In contrast, pleading guilty removes the possibility of you walking away without penalty. In many cases, pleading innocent gives you the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome from your case.

5. Guilty Pleas Become Public Record

Once you plead guilty, you lose a lot of rights that you’d otherwise maintain with an innocent plea. A guilty plea automatically enters your permanent, public record. Having a criminal record means that any future background checks will reflect your charges. As a result, you may have difficulty finding employment, taking out bank loans, or buying a home.

6. You May Not Have the Ability to Change a Guilty Plea if You Change Your Mind

Although you can sometimes reverse a guilty plea, this does not happen often. Plea reversals must meet specific requirements, and the prosecution will most likely fight it. Even if you change your mind, a guilty plea means you’ll face whatever punishment the court deems appropriate.

Timing and forensic evidence can help if you decide to reverse your plea. Quickly withdrawing and providing substantial evidence for your reversal can sometimes result in a judge’s approval. However, know that this does not happen often. Contacting a lawyer before entering a plea can help you avoid this unfortunate situation.

7. A Guilty Plea Limits Your Options Moving Forward

You lose most of your legal options once you enter a guilty plea. First, you should understand that a guilty plea means the court can issue the maximum punishment for your crime. For this reason, you should work with a criminal attorney, even if you plan to plead guilty.

Additionally, pleading guilty requires you to waive the following rights:

  • The right to a jury trial
  • The right to not incriminate yourself
  • The right to cross-examine and confront accusers
  • The right to counsel if you are currently unrepresented

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bangerter Law Office in Ohio

Don’t just search “criminal defense lawyers near me” if you face criminal charges. Instead, you should choose an experienced criminal defense lawyer like our team at Bangerter Law Office in Willoughby, Ohio. We can guide you through the legal process and provide counsel.

Even if you plan to plead guilty, you need to be aware of all your rights and how to navigate the court system. Our legal team at Bangerter Law Office provides an initial consultation to help you take those critical first steps in your case. Call us today at (440) 340-1740 or fill out our online form.

Copyright© 2022. The Bangerter Law Office. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Bangerter Law Office
4124 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 340-1740