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Why It’s Never a Good Idea to Plead Guilty to Speed Up Your Case

Nobody expects to be charged with a criminal offense, and it can be a traumatic, harrowing experience. For instance, you might get pulled over for a moving violation, only to unexpectedly get arrested for a DUI. The potential situations where you can end up with criminal charges are endless, but one thing is true for everyone: you want to get things over with as fast as possible. Whether that means getting your case dropped, spending time in jail, and/or paying fines, the faster it’s over, the better.

When your goal is to get through your criminal charges as quickly as you can, it’s tempting to plead guilty, thinking it will push it through fast. After all, if you plead guilty, there will be no trial and if there’s evidence against you, isn’t it futile to fight the charges?

The truth is that it’s always worth fighting your charges regardless of what you believe might happen. There are far too many intricacies in the court system for you to know what the outcome will be, and pleading guilty doesn’t speed things up in every situation. You really do need an attorney to craft your legal defense because please are deceptive. It’s not as simple as pleading not guilty when you’re innocent and pleading guilty when you’ve committed the crime.

In fact, pleading guilty can actually prolong the consequences of your charges following your conviction. For example, if you plead guilty to a DUI, there’s a chance the judge might hand down the maximum sentence in terms of fines, suspending your license, and jail time. You’ll also have a DUI on your record, which can impact your ability to find employment.

On the other hand, when you hire a DUI attorney and follow their instructions, the same case can result in a completely different outcome in the absence of a guilty plea. Your case might be dropped completely. Or, you might get a plea bargain where you plead guilty to lesser charges, like reckless driving in exchange for paying a fine. If you’re a first-time offender, your attorney might be able to get you into a diversion program that will remove the charges from your record once you complete the program. Best of all, an attorney has the ability to fight hard to get fines and jail terms reduced.

Attorneys work hard to get cases dropped

If you plead guilty, you lose the opportunity for your attorney to get your charges dropped or reduce your sentence. You also lose your right to a jury trial, which is a Constitutional right. You no longer have the right to testify in your own defense, remain silent, or cross-examine witnesses and you can’t appeal.

Once you plead guilty, your fate is in the hands of the judge, and you won’t be able to make your case for a lighter sentence at that point. The judge is going to give you whatever punishment they feel is appropriate, and not all judges are lenient.

Evidence against you doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted

No matter what evidence you think there is, it might not actually be used against you. For instance, let’s say you’re facing DUI charges and you were, in fact, driving under the influence when you were arrested. Say you failed the field sobriety tests and you blew over the legal limit. It seems like your case would be closed and you should just plead guilty to get it over with, but that’s not always true.

If the officer who arrested you made any procedural errors, there’s a good chance your entire traffic stop will be invalidated. If the traffic stop is deemed invalid, then so is your DUI arrest and everything that occurred after that. If you plead guilty, those procedural errors won’t be taken into account.

Don’t plead guilty without instruction from your attorney

Pleading guilty will never make a legal situation disappear faster because you’ll be left with a permanent record. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done the crime or not – an attorney might be able to get your charges dropped or get you a lesser sentence. Don’t sacrifice that potential by pleading guilty. Only plead guilty when your attorney instructs you to do so.