If you have been charged with a crime and are thinking about pleading guilty, you are not alone. People plead guilty all the time—usually because they either (i) assume they are guilty, or (ii) assume there is nothing they can do regardless of the facts at hand. But, you are also thinking about making a huge mistake. Pleading guilty can be incredibly costly, and you need to speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney before you make any assumptions that could impact your future.
Do Not Plead Guilty Unless Advised to Do So By Your Attorney
While pleading guilty may seem like your only option, trust us, it is not. There are many ways to defend against criminal charges under New Jersey law—and there are also many reasons to do so. Here are five reasons not to plead guilty when charged with a crime in New Jersey:
1. You Might Not Be Guilty
Even if you think there is no way you can avoid a guilty verdict, this might not actually be the case. New Jersey’s criminal statutes are complicated, and you have clear rights under the U.S. Constitution. Before you make any decisions about your case, you need to make sure you have an accurate understanding of your risk of being found guilty at trial.
2. There are Protections in Place to Ensure a Fair Trial
Speaking of the trial, as a defendant, you are entitled to protections that ensure fairness in the process. For example, you have the right to be involved in the jury selection process, and there are legal remedies for police and prosecutorial misconduct. If the prosecution is unable to convince the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then you are not guilty in the eyes of the law.
3. You May Be Eligible for a Diversionary Program
If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible to participate in one of New Jersey’s diversionary programs. These programs allow first-time offenders to avoid a conviction even if they are guilty of the crimes with which they have been charged.
4. You May Be Able to Secure a Reduced Sentence
If you are not eligible for a diversionary program and you are not able to avoid a conviction, you may be able to secure a reduced sentence. By working with an experienced Bergen County criminal defense attorney, you can ensure that the consequences of your criminal case are no greater than absolutely necessary.
5. Pleading Guilty Can Impact the Rest of Your Life
Finally, and most importantly, pleading guilty can truly impact the rest of your life. Your conviction will stay with you, and it can have effects on everything from your ability to work or get an education to your ability to spend time with your children.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Gorman
If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, we strongly encourage you to schedule a free consultation before you do anything else. To speak with Bergen County criminal defense attorney Scott Gorman in confidence, call 973-796-3800 or request an appointment online now.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense