Before you decide to plead guilty, consider:
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY
If you are considering the guilty plea because you don’t know how to fight the charges, you don’t have to – you have the right to the best criminal defense attorney in Ohio and it is his job to help you fight. Under the U.S. Constitution, you always have the right to legal counsel. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court must appoint one. Never plead guilty before talking with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case and what options you have.
TAKING THE GUILTY PLEA BACK IS NOT EASY
If you plead guilty and then wish you hadn’t, taking it back can be tricky. You do not have an absolute right to change your mind after pleading guilty. You may be required to show a fair and just reason why the court should allow you to withdraw your guilty plea, and the prosecutor will likely fight any withdrawal of your original guilty plea.
A GUILTY PLEA IS PUBLIC RECORD
If you plead guilty to a crime and are convicted and sentenced, this creates a permanent public criminal record. Anyone who runs a background check on you, including potential employers, landlords, or banks, will find you were convicted of a crime.
Do you know what the sentence will likely be if you plead guilty to a crime? Under the law, a judge can sentence you the maximum. Talk to a knowledgable criminal defense attorney to learn what that might be should you plead guilty.
YOUR OPTIONS ARE LIMITED
Once you enter a guilty plea, your options are considerably limited. The next step is for the judge to accept the plea, enter the conviction, and then sentence you. The case cannot be dismissed, even if it should have been. By pleading not guilty, you leave yourself more options.
YOU CAN’T FIGHT EVIDENCE
If you believe your Constitutional rights were violated during a pre-arrest investigation, or during or after an arrest, and this led the police to unlawfully obtain evidence against you, the only way to fight back is to plead not guilty. Once you plead guilty, there will be no opportunity to fight back against this illegal and inadmissible evidence.
ARE THER POSSIBLE DEFENSES
A good criminal defense attorney can use at least one defense strategy at trial, no matter what the charges are against you to gain an acquittal or minimize the consequences of a conviction. Talk with an experienced attorney and have him explain the possible defenses and their likely outcomes.
NO ROOM FOR APPEAL
If you are convicted based on a guilty plea, there may not be any valid grounds for an appeal. In limited circumstances, you may be able to appeal based on a wish to withdraw your guilty plea, if your request to withdraw your guilty plea during the trial was denied, or if you were given an unlawful sentence. But typically, if you pled guilty and were convicted, that is the end of your case.
The Bottom Line: If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the best thing to do is enter a not guilty plea and speak with a lawyer right away. This gives you the opportunity to learn about the law, the charges against you, the strength and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case, and your defense options. Call Scott Rubenstein: 513.260.2099