Should I Plead Guilty If I Have Committed The Crime?
When you plead guilty, you're in a position where the judge will sentence you. Fortunately, if you're going to agree to plead guilty in a Los Angeles court, you already know what the sentence is going to be. There are rare cases where you plead guilty, and your punishment is put inside a range.
For example, let's say that you get what they call a county jail lid. That means the judge could give you anywhere from no time in jail up to a year in jail. You'll want to have your defense attorney submit a sentencing memorandum and argue that you shouldn't get any jail time.
If there's a disadvantage, it has to do with you giving up all your rights. If you're going to end up with a conviction of a felony, you'll no longer be able to vote, and you won't be able to use or possess weapons. You'll have to give up several other things, but they'll all be the terms and conditions of your probation if you get a probationary sentence.
It's essential that, if you make a deal, you sit down with your attorney and find out exactly what the ramifications will be. In the future, if you violate your probation, the judge can punish you up to the maximum for whatever sentence it is that you pled guilty or no contest to.
The problem with just going in and pleading guilty is you're going to lose control of what your sentence is going to be, and you may not be able to bring forward some of the mitigating factors that you want the prosecutor and judge to consider before you are sentenced.
There's a wide range of what the sentence can be most times. Even if you're guilty, you want to do everything you can to ensure that you're in a position to get the lowest sentence when you plead guilty or no contest in the case. You may want to get lesser charges. You may want to avoid jail time.
Many things could happen to you if you plead guilty or no contest in any criminal case, so before you decide to move forward with a plea, you want to thoroughly discuss it with your attorney. Bring forward all the mitigating factors, get character letters, and do everything you can to make sure that whatever your final resolution is, it's something that you can live with. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will provide more details below.
Does Pleading Guilty Exclude Me From Getting Appellate Relief?
Typically, once you plead guilty, you're not going to be able to appeal any sentence that you get. Most of the time, when someone pleads guilty or no contest, they already know what the penalty is going to be. It's tough to argue that you were surprised by the sentence, you don't think it's fair, and you want to appeal to it.
There are exceptions. Sometimes, the person doesn't understand English fully. They don't use an interpreter and take a plea without understanding all the ramifications. They get deported, lose many rights, and now they're in a position where they need to try to withdraw their plea.
Most of the time, however, once you plead, you're not going to be able to appeal your sentence. Often, prosecutors make people take appellate waivers, where they're not allowed to appeal their sentence, even if they want to.
What Are Some Alternatives To Pleading Guilty?
If you're innocent and don't want to plead guilty, you can take your case to trial. If it applies to your case, your attorney can file a motion to get all the evidence suppressed. It depends on the circumstances and evidence they have against you. Your option is to fight by way of activities and a jury trial. If the government has a weak case against you, you will have an excellent chance to win.
This is something you need to sit down with your attorney and discuss. You can plead no contest instead of guilty, and the court will find you guilty, but they can't use your no contest plea against you civilly if that applies to your case.