When a crime is committed, the accused has two basic options: They can plead guilty or say they’re innocent. Depending on which way you intend to plead, the outcome of your case could be substantially different.
There are times when maintaining your innocence is better, and there are instances where pleading guilty could be the right option for your case thanks to a plea deal or bargain made with the court.
Should I accept a guilty plea?
Realistically, no one wants to have a conviction on their record. However, there are times when pleading guilty could help you. For example, if there is significant evidence and it’s highly likely that you’d be found guilty at trial, you may take a guilty plea with a known outcome rather than leaving your fate up to the judge and jury.
On the other hand, there are a number of times when it’s inappropriate to take a guilty plea. For example, if you’re innocent of the crime, had your rights violated by the police or have other evidence or information on your side to potentially win your case, then you should consider pleading innocence instead.
Pleading guilty could be an option, but it’s not always the best one
There is sometimes something to gain by pleading guilty, such as a reduced sentence or alteration of the charges, but that isn’t always the case. Your best option is to look at all the potential outcomes and to determine what a worst-case scenario would be. You should also consider a best-case scenario, realistically, based on your situation.
Pleading guilty isn’t your only option, which is why it’s important to evaluate all your options with your attorney before you take action to try to resolve the situation. Even if pleading guilty makes you feel like your issues will go away, the reality is that a conviction can hurt you for years to come. You could have your reputation damaged, lose your license, have to spend time in prison or face other harsh consequences with a guilty plea, so it may not be the right choice for you.