Will My Sentence Be Harsher If I Go To Trial And Am Found Guilty Rather Than Take A Plea Deal?
You should not be punished for exercising your right to a trial, but in some cases, the judge may choose to be more lenient when it comes to punishing those who took a plea deal and avoided putting the victim through a full trial. For example, if you were accused of a sex crime and you chose to make the victim relive everything by taking the case to trial only to be proven guilty, then the judge may see that as a lack of remorse or a failure to attempt to rehabilitate yourself, and may punish you more harshly as a result. If the judge thinks you are wasting his time and just causing problems, then you will definitely get a harsher sentence. At the end of the day, you want to do the best that you can given the nature of your situation.
It can be very difficult to make the choice between a plea and a trial. I once defended an individual who was accused of rape but claimed absolute innocence. It was a complicated situation that involved a lot of drinking and ended in the accusation that he had sex with someone without first gaining their consent. My client had a different story, claiming that he stopped touching her the minute she asked him to. However, he was facing a six to 30-year sentence for this accusation. Ultimately, he decided to take the case to trial, and he was found not guilty. While it can be an incredibly tough decision to make, sometimes you just absolutely have to take a case to trial. Other times, it’s a complete roll of the dice; even if you know you are innocent, you never know what a jury is going to do.
In some cases, choosing to take an Alford plea may be in your best interest. Pursuant to a case called People v. Alford, an Alford plea allows you to take a plea for the benefit of the bargain even though you are pleading not guilty and are not agreeing to the facts as they are. Since you could be found guilty by a jury of your peers, you are avoiding that risk and avoiding the potential of receiving a serious punishment for a crime you claim you did not commit. Taking an Alford plea means you are agreeing to a finding of guilt for the purpose of that plea only. Whether or not to take an Alford plea is a very difficult decision that’s best made with the help of an experienced attorney.
For more information on Pleading Guilty Vs. A Conviction At Trial, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.