Congdon Law. PLLC.

Should I Plead Guilty If I Know That I Have Committed A Crime?


I tell my clients that there are two types of guilt: conscience guilt and legal guilt. Conscience guilt is when someone knows they did something wrong and they are willing to make amends to ensure that they never repeat their mistake, and legal guilt is what the prosecutor must prove. An individual does not have an obligation to help a prosecutor prove legal guilt, which is precisely what pleading guilty does. Even if a person feels conscience guilt, they do not need to plead guilty. In fact, it is my position that an individual should not plead guilty if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove legal guilt.

Does Pleading Guilty Remove Any Chances Of Appellate Relief In The Future?

If someone pleads guilty, they will retain the right to appeal a conviction, but it will be very difficult to win that appeal. Typically, we will challenge the evidence in a preliminary hearing and if we lose that challenge, rather than entering a guilty plea, it would be better to enter into a stipulated facts trial, where we would submit evidence to the judge, who would then determine whether or not there’s enough evidence to prove the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s much easier to obtain appellate review in this way than it is with a straightforward guilty plea because it allows the court of appeals to look further back into the record and ensure that the decisions of the trial court judge were proper.

What Are My Alternatives To Pleading Guilty Right From The Start?

The alternative to pleading guilty right at the start of a case is to plead not guilty and continue with the court process. There may be plea bargains available, a case could get dismissed if the prosecution cannot find a witness or their evidence is tainted in some way, and depending on the county, there may be diversion programs available. There are many alternatives to pleading guilty right away, and it is important for clients to have a full understanding of their options so that they can make the best and most informed decision. For some people, pleading guilty right away is the best course of action in order to avoid more serious charges.

When Should I Accept A Plea Bargain?

After consulting with their attorney, an individual should accept a plea bargain if doing so would be in their best interests given the facts and circumstances of their case.

Additional Information On Pleading Guilty Or Not Guilty In A Criminal Case

It’s important to consider the collateral consequences of a guilty plea or a conviction after trial. For example, if someone has a professional license that would be taken away as a result of a conviction or guilty plea, then that should be taken into consideration during negotiations and/or when deciding whether or not to take a case to trial.

For more information on Pleading Guilty After Committing A Crime, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (651) 314-9620 today.

Jennifer Congdon, Esq.

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