If you are facing criminal charges, you are probably ready to put them behind you. While there certainly is nothing wrong with wanting to move on with your life, you do not want to do anything to make matters worse for yourself. Unfortunately, prematurely accepting a plea deal might do just that.
Plea bargains are exceedingly common in the U.S. judicial system. In fact, according to Fair and Just Prosecution, roughly 97% of federal felony convictions and 94% of state felony convictions are the result of plea deals. Still, if any of the following applies to your situation, pleading guilty might not be a good idea.
You are not guilty of the charges
Because criminal matters can be confusing, you may not realize that pleading guilty requires admitting guilt. It also gives you a criminal record that can complicate your future. Consequently, if you are not guilty of the charges, it may be unwise to accept a guilty plea.
Prosecutors have a weak case
There is an old expression that says prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich. Securing a conviction at trial, though, might be an entirely different matter. Therefore, if prosecutors have a weak case or cannot convince a jury of your guilt, you might not want to plead guilty.
You have a good defense
Regardless of the strength of the prosecution’s case, you may have a solid defense. As a criminal defendant, you have a right to defend yourself. Simply put, if there is a decent chance a judge or jury might buy your defense, pleading guilty may not be the right approach.
Ultimately, because you might not know whether pleading guilty is the correct thing to do, you should have competent legal counsel before entertaining any plea deal.