Should I Still Hire an Attorney if I Think I’m Guilty?
April 14, 2023
Some people think that if they’re guilty of a crime, there’s no need for an attorney. Nothing could be further from the truth. With a skilled attorney on your side, you have options.
The attorneys at Wolfe Law Group, LLC believe in protecting every single client’s rights. You deserve a fair defense, even if—especially if—you think you’re guilty of a crime. If you live in Columbus or anywhere else in Ohio, including the communities of Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, and Hilliard, set up a consultation with an experienced legal team today.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
One of your options is entering a guilty plea. Entering a guilty plea does not mean the charged individual loses their right to a fair defense. In fact, a guilty plea can help an individual avoid the time and cost of going to trial while reducing the risk of harsher punishment. Additionally, a guilty plea or plea bargain can drastically reduce court costs. For instance, prosecuting a case may cost up to $70,000. A guilty plea can reduce that figure significantly.
Entering a guilty plea can have various consequences depending on the crime and charges. Here are the possible consequences of entering a guilty plea in Ohio:
A guilty plea can lead to prison time depending on the charged individual’s criminal record and the nature of the crime. Misdemeanor charges generally have a maximum one-year sentence. In contrast, felony charges may range from more than one year to life in prison, depending on the charges and the individual’s history.
Paying a monetary penalty or fine is another consequence of a guilty plea. Fines can range from a few dollars to thousands depending on the charges, such as a traffic violation. Failure to pay fines may lead to further charges resulting in jail time.
Suspension or Loss of a Driver’s License
Traffic violations such as Driving under the Influence (DUI) can lead to an individual losing their license temporarily. Depending on the charges’ nature and the individual’s history, losing a driver’s license may be permanent. For instance, repeat DUI offenses can lead to a permanent loss of license.
First-time offenders in Ohio may be sentenced to probation instead of jail time. Probation allows charged individuals to move on with their lives, especially when they have no prior criminal history. However, probation violations may lead to incarceration.
Loss of a Professional License
A guilty plea can result in a professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, losing their licensure as they would no longer be in good standing with their professional association. This situation could have devastating impacts on the individual’s ability to earn a living.
Inability to Carry a Firearm
In Ohio, convicted indicted individuals may not carry a firearm. Doing so may lead to immediate incarceration.
Foreign nationals who enter a guilty plea may not serve jail time. Instead, they may be ordered to leave the United States through deportation. In other instances, the convicted individual may first serve jail time and subsequently face deportation.
Loss of Visitation Rights or Custody of a Minor Child
If you’re convicted of a crime, you may lose your visitation rights or custody of a minor child, particularly if the court deems you are a threat to the child’s well-being and safety.
Damage to Personal and Familial Relationships
The damage to personal and familial relationships is an unfortunate consequence of a conviction or guilty plea. Friends and family may choose to distance themselves from the charged individual as they may feel this relationship can negatively affect their overall well-being. Similarly, business contacts may withdraw their support due to the negative image sustaining business relationships would create.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney Even if You Think You Are Guilty
Should you hire an attorney if you think that you’re guilty of a crime? This is certainly a frustrating time for you, and it may be tempting to face the consequences without any further hassle. However, it is vitally important to hire an attorney for many reasons:
Protection of rights. A criminal defense attorney can ensure that constitutional rights are protected throughout the legal process, including the right to a fair trial and the right to remain silent.
Understanding of the legal system. The criminal justice system can be complex and difficult to navigate. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help charged individuals understand the charges, the potential consequences of a conviction, and the options available.
Reduction of charges or sentence. Even if an individual believes they are guilty of charges, an attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced or the sentence mitigated.
Building a defense. A skilled criminal defense attorney can analyze the evidence and develop a strategy to defend against the charges, potentially leading to a dismissal or acquittal.
Protection from unfair treatment. In some cases, law enforcement officials may engage in illegal or unethical conduct, such as coercion or entrapment. A lawyer can protect individuals from unfair treatment and hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct.
Alternatives to incarceration. A professional criminal defense attorney can work with prosecutors to negotiate alternatives to jail time, such as probation, fines, or community service, especially when the charged individual is a first-offender. Keep in mind that prosecutors want to save the court time and money. So, they may be willing to negotiate an alternative to incarceration to reduce expenses.
Peace of mind. Facing criminal charges can be stressful and overwhelming. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide peace of mind and support during this difficult time.
Communicating With Your Defense Attorney
Effective communication with your defense attorney is essential to building a strong defense and achieving a successful outcome in your case. Keep the following points in mind when communicating with a criminal defense attorney:
It’s important to be truthful and forthright with an attorney. Provide them with all relevant information and be honest about your situation. The attorney needs to know everything to build a strong defense.
Criminal defense attorneys are here to help you. Be receptive to their advice and guidance, and consider their recommendations carefully.
Any communication with an attorney is privileged and confidential. Be mindful of this and avoid discussing the case with anyone else without your lawyer’s permission.
Rely on Passionate Legal Representation
At Wolfe Law Group, LLC, clients come first. No matter their situation, every single client deserves a dedicated defense of their rights. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer today to start paving a path forward.