The decision whether to plead or try a case is an important one. Aside from the practical implications of whether to accept a plea that results in a conviction, or a trial that offers the possibility of either exoneration or a conviction, there is the fact that a trial implicates important constitutional rights.
By giving up your right to trial in a plea, the defendant (hopefully) receives a better outcome than he might have had at trial: a lower charge, lesser punishment, a deferred prosecution program, or some other positive outcome.
By giving up plea for a trial, a defendant has the opportunity to hear the State present their evidence officially before the court, to present their own evidence or side of the story, and to testify themselves. Perhaps, most importantly, a trial offers the chance of an acquittal, being found not guilty.
Most attorneys view the decision as a balancing of risks and benefits: there are risks and benefits to either pleading or trying a case, and it is important to have an attorney advise you as to both.
The decision whether to plead or try, however, is entirely the decision of the defendant. His attorney, the prosecutor, not even the judge can MAKE the defendant take a plea or try a case.
I always tell my clients that their case is an airplane: they are the pilot; I'm just the navigator telling the client where I think we ought to go. The decision as to where we ultimately go, however, is the client's.
Contact our Greensboro criminal defense attorneys, who operate in Greensboro, High Point and Randolph County for a free consultation today.