RISKS OF ACCEPTING A PLEA OFFER WITHOUT SPEAKING TO A DEFENSE LAWYER

Here is a common scenario: A person has been charged with a crime, they go to court for their arraignment and they meet with a prosecutor who offers them a plea deal to resolve the case. The person may want to take the deal because they want the case resolved as soon as possible. I generally caution people against accepting a plea without first speaking to an experienced defense lawyer. Here are a couple of reasons I recommend people always speak with a defense attorney before accepting a plea offer:

 

A defense attorney can tell you if the offer you are being offered is the best plea possible.

 

A good defense lawyer will know what the best plea offer will be in your case. This is because a good, experienced defense lawyer will know the court where you are charged, know the prosecutors, know what types of offers they make and will be able to tell you if you are getting the best deal possible. For example, one court may have a mandatory minimum for one type of offense, while a different court may not, a good defense lawyer will know the difference between the two courts and will be able to advise you accordingly. After you speak to an experienced defense attorney you will have a much better idea of what likely plea will be in your matter. You will also know what is not possible as far as possible sentences go.

 

A defense attorney can tell you if there are any problems with the state’s case against you and if there are any good defenses.

 

A good experienced defense attorney will look at the police report in your case and see if there are any issues to be raised. These issues may be raised to the prosecutor to get a better plea or could be raised at trial to fight the case. There are many examples but maybe the officer in the case didn’t get a warrant when they were supposed to, or maybe a part of your DUI investigation was not done according to protocol. If you just look at your own police report you will likely not see any potential issues since most people are not experienced defense lawyers.

If you think you may not be able to hire a quality defense lawyer it is still good idea to speak to one to see if they can work with you on cost and if a financial agreement can be worked out. A good defense lawyer will not be cheap but that doesn’t mean they can’t work with you on price.