If you’re facing serious criminal charges, then you’re probably looking for the best way to defend yourself. It’s important to be proactive in the development of your criminal defense. After all, there’s a lot on the line in your case. You might be threatened with significant prison or jail time, excessive fines, and damage to your reputation that can be irreparable.
But before you have your day in court, you’re likely to receive some sort of plea deal from the prosecution. The state usually wants to try to obtain a conviction as quickly as possible without tying up too much of their own time. While one of these plea bargains might look appealing, especially in light of the consequences if you’re convicted at trial, you should take the time needed to really analyze the offer before acting on it. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- What does the plea deal actually offer? When analyzing a plea deal, make sure that you know what is being offered and how that compares to what’s at risk if you decide to go to trial. Sometimes the penalties you’ll face through a plea deal aren’t that much more different than if you were to go to trial and lose. In these situations, you might be better off taking your chances with a jury. If there’s a big discrepancy, though, then you might want to consider that plea bargain a little more carefully.
- What defense options are at your disposal? This is probably the most important consideration to make. Take a look at the facts of your case and carefully think about how you’ll defend yourself if your case goes to trial. If you’re able to suppress the prosecution’s evidence, such as by arguing that damaging evidence was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, or if you can aggressively attack the credibly of the prosecution’s witnesses, then your chances of succeeding at trial increase exponentially.
- What does the case law look like? Your case is unique, but there’s a pretty good chance that similar cases have been litigated and appealed. Therefore, by looking at those similar cases you can get a feel for how juries and appellate courts view the same issues that you’re dealing with. This can give you guidance as you consider how best to develop your criminal defense and your likelihood of success at trial.
- What are you comfortable with? This is an important question to consider. After looking at the plea bargain that has been offered to you, ask yourself if you’re okay accepting the penalties contained within it. A lot of people recognize that the plea bargain may be the best outcome for them, so they accept it to get the matter behind them as quickly as possible. Others, though, want to fight until the very end to try to obtain an acquittal, no matter how small the likelihood. Really think about what you want and what you think is best for you and your family.
Take a holistic approach to your criminal defense
It can be daunting to face criminal charges, especially when aggressive prosecutors threaten severe penalties. But you can’t let your fear of the future paralyze you into inaction. Doing so could lead to the worst outcome possible under the circumstances. Instead, diligently work to develop the criminal defense that is right for you. This means analyzing the evidence at hand in light of statutory and case law, as well as working the rules of evidence to your advantage. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to better position yourself for a successful outcome, then we encourage you to continue to research your criminal defense options.