Criminal Charge: When to Plead Guilty

By law, people who plead guilty on a criminal charge early on in Court must be given a discount on their penalty.

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Sometimes it’s advisable to consider pleading guilty if there appears to be undeniable evidence (video, DNA,…) and no chance of beating the charges.

Many years ago, the courtrooms convicted people on a criminal charge based only on circumstantial evidence.


Criminal Charge These defendants felt that the only option they had was to either accept a plea bargain or plead guilty. By acknowledging that they committed the crime they were immediately fined or put in jail, after the sentence was set.

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If you decide to plead guilty, you will go to a sentencing hearing.

The purpose of a sentencing hearing is for the court to decide what penalty it will impose on you.

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In some states the accused has the option or ability to enter what is known as an Alford plea of Guilty, which is when the defendant enters a plea of Guilty, but informs the judge he does so not because he is in fact Guilty, but because he is concerned of the risks related to a conviction if he pleads Not Guilty.

Tribunal Why in the world would a person plead Guilty to a crime he did not commit? In this case he is entering the Guilty plea to secure a more favorable resolution (reduced charges or lenient sentence), so he can avoid the risk factor of getting convicted which is a part of our imperfect judicial system.

If you really want to plead guilty as charged, you might not need to pay an attorney for that.

Another option is to consider the feasibility of securing a favorable Pre-trial Agreement (PTA).

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DISCLAIMER: The law will vary depending on your state and the specifics of your case. The information provided by USAttorneyLegalServices.com is intended for educational purposes only. All the content on this website should NOT be considered professional legal advice or a substitute for professional legal advice. For such services, we recommend getting a free initial consultation by a licensed Attorney in your state.