Should I Take a Plea Deal?
Finding an attorney who can represent you is just the start of facing your legal matters. In addition to finding one who handles cases like yours, you need to find a lawyer who you gel with. The last thing you want is someone who is supposed to be advocating for you doing exactly the opposite. A quality attorney will ensure your voice is heard and help you achieve your most favorable and realistic outcome.
So, what do you do if your lawyer wants you to take a plea deal and you don’t want to? Read on to learn more.
Know The Charges Against You
We’ve had countless people come to us seeking representation with little understanding of what they’re being charged with. It’s critical that once you’re charged with a crime your attorney explains what that charge or charges mean. There are nuances between charges and you need to know the ins and outs so that you can be as open and honest as possible with your attorney. Something you tell them might make them think what you’re being charged with isn’t right or fair.
Knowing what you’re being charged with and how these charges may or may not impact you is the only way to ensure you’re advocating for yourself and your attorney is following the lead. We will be your voice, but we want you informed.
Understand The Punishments That Come With Your Charges
Every charge comes with a minimum and maximum punishment. You should discuss what each minimum and maximum means with your attorney and then take the time to think about how these punishments might impact your life. For example, if a charge carries a long prison terms, and your attorney has been offered a plea deal with a much shorter sentence, that could be worth considering.
Additionally, various results in court may or may not show on public record, thus impacting your ability to find work or not. Understand what the repercussions of these charges are so that you’re making informed decisions.
Ask For an Explanation
Ask your attorney to thoroughly explain not just why they believe this is the best option, but also what could likely happen at trial and/or sentencing if convicted after trial. Your attorney should be working in your best interest. This means that they should weigh all options for you. One of the most important things to understand is the difference between the plea deal and the punishment you’re facing. When it comes to making life changing decisions, it’s important that you have a clear idea of how each choice could impact you.
- The plea deal
- How it appears on your record
- Will incarceration be required
- What other obligations will be requires such as a fine, mandatory counseling, probation, or community service
- Does it impact your ability to find work
- Is it public record or only visible to law enforcement
- What happens if you lose at trial
- Minimum and maximum sentences and fines
- What happens if you win at trial
If you don’t believe your attorney is acting in your best interest, you should consider getting a new one who you feel is working in your favor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome you get will be what you want, however, it does mean you can rest confident you’re getting the best representation possible.
Before accepting a plea deal your attorney should thoroughly understand your case. After talking with you they should also look at police reports, eye witness statements, physical evidence, and anything else available to them.
Know You Do Not Need To Accept a Plea
While your lawyer might be recommending a plea deal, you are under no obligation to accept it. If, at the end of the day, you simply want to go to trial and believe that’s what is best, then you have every right to do so. However, you should have an attorney that you trust and listen carefully to the reasoning behind their recommendation before making a final decision.
If you’re in need of representation or advice on criminal charges in New Hampshire, contact us. Our New Hampshire criminal defense attorneys bring decades of experience and are here to help you get the most favorable outcome possible, through transparent and fair advocacy.