The Two Roads
The decision to choose a plea or a trial is always the choice of the criminal defendant. Nevertheless, the attorneys at Ralls & Wille always explore both options, a plea or a trial, to help our clients make the most educated and reasonable decision possible.
Plea Deal or Trial
Put simply, a plea is an agreement with the government that, in exchange for a lighter punishment, the defendant will accept responsibility for a crime instead of fighting the case before the court. In contrast, a trial is a formal process before the court during which our attorneys try to prevent the government from proving the defendant is guilty of the charges.
Choosing between a plea and a trial is always a complicated decision. The decision is not just based on your chances of winning at trial. Instead, it may depend on your life circumstances. Are you willing to risk a greater punishment that may keep you from seeing your children for a long time? Or, it may depend on whether the government violated your rights during the investigation. Are you willing to let your lawyers fight the government about the way they obtained a search warrant? Or would it be a better idea to accept a better plea deal in exchange for not litigating the issue? Every case is different. That’s why it’s important for you to carefully consider all the circumstances in your life and the case before deciding.
In addition, before you decide between a plea or trial, it is important for you to understand your rights under both options. Please see our post about “How a Plea Agreement Works” and “A Defendant’s Rights During a Trial in the United States” for more detailed information.