If you're facing criminal charges, you may be considering pleading guilty at arraignment so you can avoid the costs and time involved in a criminal trial. Before pleading guilty, however, consider the three things mentioned below.
You Could Lose Your Chance at a Plea Bargain
A plea bargain is a tool used by the prosecuting attorney to help avoid a trial. When you plead guilty at arraignment, however, you forfeit your right to a trial and any chance you had at getting a plea bargain is gone.
The number of cases that actually make it to trial is relatively small when you consider how many people are brought up on criminal charges on a daily basis. The reason that trials don't occur more often than they do is because of plea bargains. Essentially, both sides (the prosecution and the defense) agree to a deal that allows you to face lesser consequences for your crime. For example, instead of jail time, you may only receive probation.
You May Lose More Than You Thought
At this point in your case, it's very likely that you understand the legal ramifications for your crime (fines, jail time, suspension of driver's license, etc.). What you may not have considered, however, is how pleading guilty can affect your professional and personal life.
When you plead guilty to a crime, you could very well lose your job, your children (if you're in the middle of a custody battle), and your good reputation. The consequences you face for pleading guilty can follow you for years to come and affect everything from where you can work to whether or not you can receive funding for college.
You Don't Need to be Rich to Hire a Good Attorney
Many people would like to avoid a trial so they can avoid the expense of paying a defense attorney. Keep in mind, however, that there are many excellent defense attorneys who work on a sliding scale.
If you're worried about how much a trial will cost you, consider that 1) you're very likely to not even make it to trial due to plea bargaining, and 2) the personal and professional costs of a guilty plea can be far more damaging than the financial costs of hiring a defense attorney.
If you're facing criminal charges, it's essential that you have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side. So, pick up the phone and set up a consultation appointment today.