Navigating a Plea Deal with a Fresno Criminal Attorney
Jul 05, 2017
When you have been charged with a crime, there are various legal steps that need to be followed. The state of California will issue you a lawyer, but that individual might not have enough time to dedicate to your case. This means you need to look at getting a criminal attorney on your own in order to get the necessary legal assistance.
Navigating the Plea Bargain
Depending upon the charge as well as what the district attorney wants to do, a plea bargain might be given. This is when you will plead one way or another in exchange for a certain, known penalty or outcome.
Generally, but not always, you will need to plead guilty or no contest (which is the same as guilty in a criminal court) in order to take the bargain. If you don't believe that this is in your best interest, a criminal attorney might be able to help you navigate the plea bargain to your benefit. This could include turning the plea bargain down and taking your case to trial. In addition, a sharp criminal lawyer may be able to negotiate something else entirely. For instance, you may be able to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement where prosecution is deferred and the case is dismissed. You may also be able to structure a conditional plea, where a guilty or no contest plea is entered, but the case is continued on the condition that you do something, for instance -obey all laws for six months, and the case is then dismissed.
Know the Consequences before you take a Deal
A competent criminal defense attorney should also advise you of your maximum exposure if you should lose the case at trial prior taking or turning down any plea agreement. In addition, there may be collateral consequences, such as sex or narcotics offender registry, that you should be aware of prior to accepting any plea disposition. Also, you should be aware of things such as loss of firearm rights or whether the offense will later be reducible to a misdemeanor (see Penal Code section 17(b).). Often, clients come to my office years after they have entered a plea, not realizing that the misdemeanor domestic violence charge they pled to led to a life time loss of firearm rights, or that the cocaine sales charge they pled to cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Choosing the Right Criminal Attorney
As you begin your search for criminal attorneys, you will find that there are many fish in criminal defense sea. You need to work with an experienced attorney who has the ability to spend enough time on your case. You also want someone who is familiar with the various laws surrounding the crime for which you've been charged.
Whether you are thinking about taking a plea bargain or you know you want to go to trial, contact the Mitchell Law Group to schedule a consultation today.
Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.