Why You Shouldn't Rush To Plead Guilty

Posted on: 27 December 2019

Being charged with a criminal offense may leave you with a sinking feeling, a sense that the cops "got" you. When you talk with a criminal defense attorney, though, one of the first things you'll probably be told is to enter a "not guilty" plea at your arraignment hearing. You may be wondering why this is the case, especially if you've informed your criminal attorney that you wish to plead guilty. There are three reasons why you shouldn't be in a rush to plead guilty.

Getting a Continuance

Most courts will give defendants more time to get counsel, set up a case and figure out how they want to proceed. To get this dispensation, though, you have to enter a "not guilty" plea. If you plead guilty, the court will ask you a few questions about whether you understand what you're doing and if you've been advised by a lawyer. Once the plea is accepted, the case will most to the sentencing phase.

It can be very difficult to reel things back once they've gotten to this point. About the only option, you'll have is to file an appellate case after you've been sentenced.

Seeking Discovery

Moving the case closer to a trial will allow you to seek discovery of evidence against you. This is part of your legal right to know what the prosecution actually has on you.

If there are problems with the state's case, this is the first time you will get a serious hint of what it might be. Prosecutors can and do drop cases for a lot of strange reasons during discovery. For example, police use a system known as Stingray that mimics cell phone towers to eavesdrop on unsuspecting people. In some cases, this had been done without the proper warrants, and prosecutors dropped the cases to not expose the cops to allegations of wrongdoing.

It's unlikely you'll be that lucky. The reality, however, is that you don't really know how good the state's case against you is until you shake the tree a few times. That's what you get from demanding discovery.

Creating Pressure for Negotiations

As a tactical choice, not pleading guilty might benefit you by finding out how interested the prosecution is in making a charge stick. A drawn-out case may not be worth their effort, and holding out might give a prosecutor incentive to offer a lesser charge for you to plead to. Visit https://dlplawyers.com/ to learn more.