When you are up against criminal charges, you have choices in front of you. You can go to trial or plead guilty. Before you decide, consult with a criminal defense attorney who can explain your rights and help you come to the right decision for your case.
If you are charged with a crime in Oceanside or the San Diego area, do you know your rights? Do you know what you should do when interacting with the police? Should you plead guilty to put the situation in your past? Do you need a defense attorney even if you are innocent of the crime?
There are so many questions that can run through your head when you are faced with criminal charges. It is critical that you make the right decisions. After all, your future is at stake. An experienced Oceanside criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process, providing you with the best advice for how to proceed in your case.
The first thing your attorney will tell you is that you do not have to answer questions from the police. It is better to remain silent, as is your right under the law, until you have your attorney present. Even if the police offer you a deal, do not accept their terms until you have consulted with your counsel.
Should you plead guilty?
In cases where you are innocent of the crime, you should exercise your right to a jury trial. This will give you the chance to defend yourself against the charges and force the prosecution to provide evidence that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are some cases in which your case may result in a better outcome after a guilty plea. Your attorney will help you understand all of your options depending on the circumstances of your case. Some defendants choose to plead guilty rather than expend the time and money it takes for a trial. Criminal trials can be lengthy and emotionally taxing. If there are appeals, you could be in and out of the courts for many years. Trials are also costly. Long trials can carry hefty legal fees that can quickly become too much for many defendants. Instead of going into debt or asking their family to go into debt for their defense, they decide to plead guilty to a criminal charge.
What is a plea bargain?
If you are considering pleading guilty to a criminal charge, there is a good chance you will be able to agree to a plea deal. In a typical plea deal, a defendant will be given the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This can substantially reduce their jail time or other penalties.
When should you plead not guilty?
In cases where a defendant is facing criminal charges, an experienced attorney is your best asset. Your lawyer will look at the facts of your case and the law to determine if it is in your best interest to plead guilty and accept a plea deal or plead not guilty and go to trial. In some cases, it is best to plead not guilty and exercise your right to a trial by a jury of your peers.
Some people who hold professional licenses such as teachers, doctors and lawyers will run the risk of losing their license and their career if they are found guilty of a criminal charge. They may choose to plead not guilty so they can have their day in court and the opportunity to defend themselves and their careers. Other people who are in the United States on a visa can face possible deportation if they are found guilty of certain felonies.
When should you consult with an Oceanside defense attorney?
Any time you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, you need the counsel of a reputable defense attorney. Your lawyer should be present before speaking to the police, accepting any kind of deal or signing any documents. Their advice will help you decide if it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty.
Call the Law Office of Joni Eisenstein to schedule a consultation with our skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney. Joni Eisenstein has extensive experience in the San Diego courts and can provide you with the representation you need to fight your charges.