Should I take my criminal case to trial? – When someone has been charged with a crime, there is often a long, stressful road ahead of them. Many decisions must be made, both by the defendant and his or her criminal defense attorney. One of the most important decisions is whether to take the case to trial.
The main considerations are how that decision is made, what should be considered, and what is in the best interest of the defendant. In this blog, we will discuss taking a criminal case to trial and the thought process behind it. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only, and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
Dismissal, plea, or trial
If you are charged with a crime, there are only three ways for those criminal charges to be resolved. Those ways are dismissal, plea, or trial. Clients often demand that we get their charges dismissed during the initial consultation. The fact is that of those three options, dismissals are solely at the discretion of the prosecutor or the judge, and therefore are the option you and your lawyer have the least control over.
Whether you take a plea or take your case to trial, however, is solely in your discretion if your charges are not dismissed. The defendant in a criminal case never has to take a plea that they are not comfortable with; nobody can force that on them.
How do I decide whether to take a plea?
The criminal defense attorney in your case can inform you about the strength of the case against you based on the discovery. That attorney can also advise you on sentencing, and collateral consequences that you face if you take a plea or if you lose at trial. That attorney can give you advice on what might be in your best interest, but that attorney cannot make the decision for you.
Only you must live with the consequences of whatever the outcome may be, therefore it is only fair that you make the decision for yourself. Some people weigh their options based on logical analysis while some people want to fight because they fully believe that is best, and neither of those options is wrong.
I don’t care how much evidence they have against me; I just want to fight
The statement in this heading is completely reasonable and very common. Sometimes someone charged with a crime wants a trial no matter what is in the discovery, and no matter what the evidence says. Before someone has their liberty stripped away by the government, sometimes they want to fight to make that as hard a possible.
Defendants always have the presumption of innocence and it is up to the prosecutor to overcome this by proving every element of the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants always have a trial as an option to make sure they receive that due process.
If you have been charged with a crime and you want a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you no matter what, contact us.