If you’re facing charges, you may feel tempted to plea guilty. You may be tempted by a promise of a lower sentencing, can’t afford an attorney, or feel that you have no defense. However, before entering a guilty plea, it’s important that you know exactly what a guilty plea means, and how it can affect you:
What is a plea, and what type of pleas are there?
A plea is the defendant’s formal response to a criminal or traffic charge. The different pleas that can be entered are guilty, not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, or no contest. Entering a plea refers to the judge’s act of formally noting a defendant’s plea, or “entering” it, in the court’s official file. If you plea guilty, it means that you admit you committed the violation, offense, or crime with which you’ve been charged.
Why would somebody plea guilty?
If you have ever paid a fine on a traffic ticket by mail instead of going to court, you have actually pled guilty to an offense. You may not have read all the fine print or realized you were pleading guilty by paying your ticket, however this is one of the most common examples of how a guilty plea can be a convenient, time-saving way to resolve a case. For serious charges, you may be offered a plea bargain by the government, where in exchange for a reduced charge or penalty, you would admit guilt.
I’m considering pleading guilty, is there anything I should do first?
It important to talk to a defense lawyer before entering a guilty plea to any offense. There are numerous potential lifelong consequences that may result from entering a guilty plea to a particular offense, and your lawyer will be able to walk you through those, and may also be able to bring up potential defenses to your case that you may have overlooked. We offer free consultations, and are available 24/7. Contact us today to find out your options.
Charles Magill’s relentless and creative style of legal service has resulted in more than 150 jury and court trial victories. Because of his uncanny ability to explain complex legal cases with unmistakable clarity, many news organizations, including FOX, ABC, CBS, NPR, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and The Fresno Bee, have sought his concise legal insight in interviews. He is an active member in the local Fresno Community and a member of the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce. He and his firm have received multiple awards of recognition, many of which are a direct result of client nomination.