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4 Fears That Lead People to Plead Guilty When They Shouldn't

Judge about to bang gavel on sounding block
Sometimes people plead guilty to charges when they shouldn't. They might do this because the prosecution pushes a plea bargain. However, these guilty pleas come about for many reasons. The problem is those reasons usually have to do with fear. Here are some of the fears that cause people to plead guilty when they shouldn't.

1. Going to Prison

Some people will plead guilty just to avoid the possibility of going to prison. Fear of prison is a large motivator. The prosecution understands that fear and will often use it in their favor to work out plea bargains. The deal will look more agreeable if it specifies less or no jail time.
Sometimes it's okay to accept such deals, but you still need to think long and hard before you plead guilty. You need to discuss your options with an attorney and make a decision based on the facts of your case rather than deciding from a place of fear.
Besides, signing a plea bargain isn't a guarantee of anything. The judge of your case can choose to accept, reject, or change the bargain.

2. Going to Trial

Some people fear trial because trials can sometimes lead to harsher sentencing if a conviction sticks. Nevertheless, no one can tell you how a trial will play out. If you're not speaking to an attorney about the possible paths your trial can take, you're not as informed as you should be about your choices.
For example, the prosecution may say they have enough evidence to send you to prison for a long time, but that doesn't mean it's true. You might have evidence on your side that can prove your innocence or help to lower the charge without you pleading guilty to something you shouldn't.

3. Getting a Criminal Record

A felony on your record can negatively interfere with your life in a multitude of different ways. Pleading out to a misdemeanor to avoid a felony charge happens frequently. Sometimes, accepting the lesser charge makes the most sense. Still, you shouldn't decide on your own if that's the best plan of action.
Even charges from a lesser class can come with penalties that affect your life for years. For example, some misdemeanors:
  • Become part of your criminal record
  • Remain on public record
  • Can impact your employment opportunities
  • Can impact your driving privileges
  • Ruin all immigration chances
In cases where you want to maintain your innocence no matter the severity of the charge, you'll need help. You shouldn't plead guilty to any charge, felony or misdemeanor, without fully understanding what the guilty plea entails.

4. Paying for Court

The costs of going to court can add up quickly. Even before a trial comes up, you'll face direct and indirect costs, including the following:
  • Transportation to and from the court
  • Missed work
  • Pretrial defense
These things all add up. At some point or another, a person will think pleading guilty is far cheaper than continuing the process all the way up to a trial and beyond.
Despite the possible costs, always bear in mind that a guilty plea is a conviction. Pleading guilty to any crime for any reason can come with ramifications you can't easily foresee. Sometimes those ramifications will cost you far more over time than seeking to fight the case right now.
If you or a loved one are accused of a crime, don't plead guilty too quickly. Instead, contact JP Coleman Law, LLC, Attorneys At Law immediately for a free legal consultation to discuss your case. We'll help you explore all your options so that you can make the best decision for your future.