Sahn Law Firm - Attorneys at Law

Can A Defendant Plead Guilty When They Aren’t?

This is a situation where this can happen. It is pursuant to the United States Supreme Court case North Carolina v. Alford (1907). In an Alford plea, the defendant does actually plead guilty in criminal court but does not admit guilty and can assert his or her innocence. As part of this plea, the defendant does admit that the evidence that would be presented at trial by the prosecution would be likely to pursue a jury or judge to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can A Guilty Plea Be Withdrawn?

A guilty plea can be withdrawn all the way up until the point during court where the judge “accepts” the guilty plea. After that point, there is no right to withdraw the plea. However, I have seen cases where the judge will voluntarily allow the plea to be withdrawn after this point, although there is no guarantee that he or she would. Usually, this only happens when some unforeseen circumstance unfolds after the plea has been accepted.

What Factors Do You Consider Before Advising Clients On Whether To Plead Guilty Or Not?

The first thing we do is we gather all the evidence possible in the case. We then evaluate that evidence and also determine if there is anything we can to investigate the case further or discover additional evidence that the prosecution did not turn over to us. We then make an honest and thorough analysis of that evidence and evaluate how most likely that evidence would play out in court. We then give our opinion on how a jury or judge would rule on the evidence: whether they would more likely find out client “Not guilty” or “Guilty.” With that in mind, we then negotiate the most favorable outcome possible pursuant to a plea bargain. It is ultimately up to the client to decide how he or she would like to proceed at this point, with us providing as much legal advice and legal opinion as the client desires.

Should I Plead Guilty Just To Avoid The Time And Expense Of A Trial In My Criminal Case?

In our opinion, these are not good reasons to plead guilty. The proper considerations are outlined above in question 13. We will always advise our clients on what is in their best interests, based on all the circumstances of the case and our legal expertise.

Will My Punishment Be Worse If I Am Found Guilty At Trial Than Had I Taken A Plea?

This is impossible to say for sure, as sentencing is up to the judge after either a plea or a trial. However, in general, the answer is yes. Conventional wisdom says the reason for this is that if a defendant is found guilty at trial, they will not receive any “credit” for accepting responsibility for what they are now convicted of. Also, it is difficult to prepare as in-depth a presentation to the plea judge regarding mitigation and why the defendant should receive leniency in sentencing.

How Does Pleading Guilty Remove Any Chances Of Appellate Relief?

When you plead guilty, you give up your right to a jury trial. During a jury trial, there are usually always at least some issues that the judge ruled against the defendant on. Some of these issues would then be appealable to a higher court if the defendant is found guilty at trial. A defendant will have 10 days from the date of a guilty plea to appeal the sentence handed down by a judge.

What Are The Alternatives To Pleading Guilty?

The first alternative is to take your case to trial. Depending on the facts and circumstance of your case, your attorney may also be able to get your case “diverted” from the criminal justice system and allow you to enter a diversionary program. There are also alternative courts, such as drug court, mental health court, and veteran’s court. There is also the possibility of your attorney convincing the prosecutor to remand or transfer the case to a lower court that has a cap on possible punishments that is much lower than the original court.

When Should I Accept The Plea Bargain In My Case?

You should accept a plea bargain in your case only after ample time to discuss all the options with your attorney. You need to understand the benefits and risks associated with accepting or not accepting it. Then and only then will you be able to make an informed, rational decision regarding a plea bargain.

For more information on Pleading Guilty When You Are Innocent, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 856-2222 today.

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Sahn Law Firm - Attorneys at Law, located in Charleston, South Carolina, provides representation throughout Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Daniel Island, Sullivan's Island, Georgetown, St. George, Hanahan, Santee, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Beaufort. The firm also represents people in the municipalities of Charleston County, Dorchester County, Berkeley County, Georgetown County, Clarendon County and Beaufort County.

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