Should You Plead Guilty or Is It Best to Fight Criminal Charges?
Interviewer: Obviously when you hire a lawyer you are hoping for a not guilty verdict. That’s just how it is. Obviously maybe you come across some clients that feel guilty about the charges. Should they just throw themselves on the mercy of the court or should they still fight the charges?
Paul: Absolutely do not proceed in any criminal case without counsel no matter what happened. No matter what the facts are, I tell everyone who talks to me, “Make sure you hire a lawyer. Even if that isn’t me, make sure you hire a lawyer.”
Always Seek the Advice of an Experienced Attorney before Entering a Plea
Any time the court system has the authority to impose a penalty of incarceration in jail or prison; you absolutely do not want to navigate that alone. Even if someone ultimately is going to enter a plea of guilty, you certainly want a very experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecutor.
An Attorney Has the Experience and Knowledge to Negotiate in Your Best Interests with the Prosecutor
You don’t want to be the one doing the talking with the prosecutor. You want a really good lawyer to negotiate with the prosecutor. So if you ultimately are going to accept responsibility in the case and spare the state and the government the time and the expense and the effort of presenting a trial, you want to make sure that you receive appropriate benefit for your cooperation and your willingness to accept responsibility. You should expect compensation if you spare the government all the effort that it would take to try your case. Those types of benefits are best negotiated by an experienced counsel.
An Attorney May Be Able to Mitigate the Level of the Charges through Negotiation with the Prosecutor
Interviewer: That actually leads right into the next question. Even if you feel that you are guilty, will a private counsel be able to get charges reduced? Is that why you also don’t want to speak with prosecutors?
Paul: Absolutely correct. I think that there is some relief or some mitigation to be had in virtually every case. Certainly it’s a case-by-case basis how much benefit, how much mitigation can counsel achieve, but in many cases an attorney can be successful through negotiations with the prosecutor.
Mitigating Charges Can Be Achieved by Questioning Probable Cause
Here’s a great example: Maybe someone is guilty for possessing a small amount of marijuana that was discovered in the console between the seats of their car during a traffic stop. The first question I ask – should the officer have ever been looking in the console between the seats in the first place? Did the officer have valid probable cause to conduct that search?
If the answer to that question is ‘no’ based on whatever the facts of circumstances of the case are, the officer had no right to be in the person’s car. Then regardless of the fact that the person knows what was in the console and feels guilty about it, perhaps that evidence should never be admitted in court so the case very well might be dismissed based on the inadmissibility of the evidence that the officer has recovered.
Absolutely you want to conduct thorough and meaningful analysis of every case no matter how guilty the client may feel that they are.
Call today for an initial consultation to discuss your case: (913) 322-3265. I represent clients facing serious criminal charges throughout the Kansas City Metro area including the municipalities of Johnson County, Kansas: De Soto, Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Shawnee.
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