If you have picked up a new criminal case that is a very scary and daunting event. You are worried about your freedom, your right to bear arms, if you’re facing a felony having a record that will greatly limit you; overall it is just a very stressful and frightening situation. One of the more difficult decisions you will have to make is how to resolve your case. That can be by a plea agreement, but one of the options is always to take the case to trial.
Deciding to go to trial is a high-risk high reward decision. If you go to trial and win, then it’s all over and you get to walk out of the courtroom a free person with no further consequences for whatever the State alleged that you had done. However, if you lose at trial, it is high risk because now you and your attorney have lost all power and control over the sentence or punishment you will now receive, that may have been limited or lessened by a negotiated plea.
There are a number of things to consider when deciding whether or not to go to trial. This list covers a number of the factors but there are endless things to consider in this very important decision.
- I am innocent: If you are 100% innocent and have been charged with a crime that you had no involvement in then you should go to trial as you should not accept responsibility if you had no part or wrongdoing in what you have been charged with. This can be a somewhat gray area in that sometimes the State may have some things charged right and not other things, but if you are firmly convinced you are innocent your right to a trial is one you should exercise.
- Strength of the State’s Case: How strong the evidence against you must always be a factor to consider when deciding whether or not to take a case to the jury. Obviously this is more of a risk based analysis and there is no perfect measure to determine a likelihood of success, but a seasoned trial attorney can assist you best in making this evaluation.
- What the State has offered as a plea: The fairness or harshness of the State’s plea offer must always be taken into account. Sometimes the offer is so reasonable that even if there is a great chance of winning at trial you still may want to control the result and eliminate all of the risk of the trial. Other times the State’s offer may be so harsh that the risk of the trial is not that great because the penalty under the plea is already so bad that going to trial is better than no chance at all.
- Jurisdiction: What county your case is in, which court your case is in, and is your case in federal or state court. Sometimes failing to take responsibility for something you are accused of doing if you did do it can be seen as a significant negative by a court and can result in a much more harsh sentencing than if you had pled.
These are just some of the top considerations to take into account in assessing taking a case to trial. Nothing can replace having this analysis with an experienced attorney. Contact the attorneys at Banks and Brower 24/7 to discuss your case at 317-870-0019.