For many people accused of a criminal offense, the tendency is to focus on the worst-case scenario right away. They start to imagine what will happen if they get convicted and sentenced to the maximum penalties for the charges they face.
There is typically a lot left to the discretion of the courts in a criminal case, and the difference between the minimum and maximum penalties can be thousands of dollars in fines and months, if not years, of additional time in state custody. The fear of certain consequences, like incarceration, may push people into pleading guilty.
Even if you intend to enter a guilty plea to the charges against you, you still have the right to an attorney. Having a lawyer on your side can help you manage the complexities of pending criminal charges. Can an attorney reduce the sentence you face?
Attorneys can help exonerate you
Pleading guilty to avoid jail doesn’t always work. A judge could still sentence you to months or years in prison. Defending yourself can mean that you won’t be subject to any criminal penalties at all.
While you may not have the patience, knowledge or skill to convince the courts of your innocence, a lawyer could potentially help you fight back against pending charges. A lawyer’s attention to detail and understanding of proper court procedure can absolutely benefit criminal defendants and help them fight back against the charges they face.
A successful defense strategy that results in a not-guilty verdict or the courts dropping the charges against you will help avoid all criminal consequences. Most people have little hope of defending themselves without a lawyer’s support.
Lawyers can help negotiate a better deal
Just pleading guilty doesn’t ensure that you will have a minimal sentence. Only when you have a specific, carefully-negotiated plea bargain can you know with absolute certainty what consequences you face for pleading guilty.
If you provide testimony or something else of value, your opportunities for securing sentencing concessions will improve. Your chances of negotiating a lower sentence and of properly protecting yourself while settling your plea bargain increase when you have the assistance of a lawyer.
Understanding how an attorney can help you handle criminal charges may inspire you to get the support that will best protect you.