Should I just plead guilty or go on trial?

Asked about 1 year ago - Los Angeles, CA

A motorcycle hit me while i was turning left, (road is too wide, no stoplights) and he died on the spot. The police report said it was my fault, the fam of the deceased didnt file a case against me, the city atty did (invol manslaughter w/o gross neg). So we hired a road reconstructionist only to find out that the motorist was driving 60% over the speed limit on a blind curve road, and autopsy shows he has 3.3ng/ml and 24ng/ml benzodiazepines on his blood. With all these presented to court they still dont want to dismiss the case, should I just plead guilty or go on trial? The sentence is 36mo prob, 300hrs comm service, and restitution. If i go on trial and lost will there be any possible jailtime? I know the judge will decide on that but as of your expertise what should i do best?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Ross Carlton Meltzer

    Contributor Level 14

    18

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with counsel that this is something that you should discuss with your current counsel. Additionally, this is a serious charge and ultimately you are the one that would have to deal with any legal consequences regarding a conviction. Thus, the law allows you and you alone to make the decision on the offer. However, you should utilize your current attorney in determining the best course of action.

    None of the information on this site constitutes legal advice. It is an ad for attorney services. The attorneys at... more
  2. Frank Mascagni III

    Contributor Level 20

    18

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am surprised at this post. I assume you have retained a competent criminal defense attorney to represent you. I assume you can afford a good lawyer, if you hired an accident scene reconstruction expert. These questions should be directed in private to your attorney in an attorney-client privileged setting. No lawyer on this site should second guess your attorney who is closer to the facts, the case law, the negotiations, the judge, the prosecutor, the history of the case, etc. The decision to enter a plea or elect your right to go to trial by jury is yours alone. But you should discuss with your chosen legal counsel.

    I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this... more
  3. David Matthew Piper

    Contributor Level 14

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your question makes sense to you, but it is exceedingly difficult for us to answer. Let me explain it like this: you call a doctor and tell him that you have cancer. You have tried the chemotherapy, but it isn't working as you planned. Should you go ahead and do the surgery? Asking us to answer what you have posted is the same as doing the above to a doctor.

    If you have a lawyer, ask him/her. They know far better than any of us would.

    If you don't have a lawyer, get one NOW.

    Beat of luck.

    Reliance on any information in this website is at the sole risk of the user and the user understands that he or... more
  4. Elliot Rahmim Zarabi

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    14

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . NEVER JUST PLEAD GUILTY, Even if you are guilty as all hell, there is still a lot you can do. So, DO NOT JUST PLEAD GUILTY. Speak to an attorney before making any decision.

    Elliot Zarabi
    213-612-7720

    Elliot Zarabi www.FreeCriminalConsultation.com 213-612-7720 This answer does not constitute full legal advise. I... more
  5. Scott Dale Mitchell

    Contributor Level 8

    14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sometimes the decision to take a deal or not is a matter of a risk analysis. You should definitely listen to the factors your attorney is presenting to you. Don't just focus on your side of the story, but also consider how outside parties may view the situation (in your case a jury as well). Also restitution could be very high in this case and restitution owing from a criminal conviction may not be dischargeable (eliminated) in a bankruptcy filing. I don't want to second guess your present attorney but maybe the thing to do now is to continue to work toward settlement. Sometimes more discussion and more facts can work toward a better resolution for you. Good luck

  6. Michael Douglas Shafer

    Contributor Level 20

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do not plead guilty. Seek counsel and defend yourself.

  7. Nicholas Milan Loncar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would generally agree with Mr. Zarabi; you don't just plead guilty. Nonetheless, a guilty plea is a calculated risk decision as others have said. While I can't give you a plead or don't plead answer, here are some factors that could weigh into your decision:

    -Effects of probation/Community Service. Are these a minor inconvenience or a big deal?
    -The charge you're pleading to. If it's Involuntary Manslaughter, even w/o gross negligence, is that something you want on your record as a conviction?
    -Expense of trial. As much as I loathe the thought that someone would plead guilty for financial reasons, weigh the cost of trial against the difference in outcome.
    -Admissible evidence. Speak with your attorney not only about what evidence the City Attorney has shared, but ask them to try to analyze what information will actually make it to your jury. Keeping key pieces of evidence out is chiefly important.
    -Prosecutor's preparedness. What does the city attorney have to do? Who do they plan to call as witnesses and will they show up.

    Feel free to contact my office 24/7 with any questions and for a free consultation.

    Best regards,

    Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
    t: 323.803.4352
    f: 323.617.3838
    www.iDefendLosAngeles.com
    Nicholas.Loncar@iDefendLosAngeles.com

  8. Brian Russell Michaels

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I can't, and no can tell you here whether to take a plea or not. Especially since it appears you have an attorney. I can tell you from personal experience, as a former City Attorney, that these are not the easiest cases for the City Attorney to get a verdict on. I know, I used to have to get verdicts on these and we often plead them out. The reason is the case only becomes a misdemeanor manslaughter case when the D.A has passed on filing a felony on you. So although it sounds scary to take a manslaughter case to trial, if its only one count you may be facing no more than a year in jail, same as any misdemeanor. Juries often sympathize with the defendant because these case are typically tragic accidents with a death and juries sometimes empathize with the defendant if they show remorse in court. The plea you are offered guarantees you no jail. Thats about it. If found guilty there is no guarantee you would do a day of jail since Judges too often don't like these cases unless there is something flagrant to rise to the level of a crime. Id fight it. But that's me and that is not a formal legal opinion. If you have the police reports and want another opinion feel free to drop me a line.

    Brian Michaels
    www.socalcrimdefense.com
    3109919179

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