Did you know that the court typically offers plea bargains to people facing criminal charges? Courts do this often, but did you also know that you do not have to accept the plea bargain? You can opt for a trial instead if you prefer. If you currently have the choice between a plea bargain and a trial, you should understand the pros and cons of going through a trial. Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing a trial instead of a plea bargain.
The Pros of Going to Trial
A trial is an event where your lawyer and the prosecuting attorney present evidence to back up their cases. Your lawyer provides evidence to help you look innocent, while the prosecuting attorney gives evidence to make you look guilty. After both parties complete their sides, the judge or jury gets the burden of deciding if you are guilty or innocent.
One of the benefits of choosing a trial is the ability to get an innocent verdict. You lose this ability if you take a plea bargain. If the jury decides you are innocent, the court must drop the charges and let you go without any consequences.
The second benefit of going to trial is the timing. If you plead guilty now through a plea bargain, you will face your consequences right away. You won't have time to let everything settle in, and you won't have time to plan for your future. If you choose a trial, you will postpone the potential consequences.
The Cons of Going to Trial
Next, you should consider the cons of choosing a trial over a plea bargain. One downside of this choice is that you may end up with harsher consequences. Plea bargains let you off with reduced charges instead of the full charges. You lose this option if you choose a trial. The second downside of choosing a trial is the time it takes. If you prefer getting the charges over with, you will not want to go through a trial. With a trial, you will have to wait until the court issues your trial dates, and this may take months or years.
Not only should you compare the pros and cons of going through a trial, but you should also discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. Taking the advice of a lawyer is always the best way to decide about a plea bargain or a trial.