Don't think that you should hire an inexpensive attorney who plea bargains all his cases to represent you in your criminal case - you need a trial attorney!
An Inexpensive Attorney who Plea Bargains All His Cases Will Not Get You the Best Deal.
Sometimes people charge with a crime just want to work out the best deal they can. They think "I'm guilty"; I just need an attorney to work out a deal to plead guilty; there's no reason to hire a high priced trial attorney known for vigorously defending every case. Those people are wrong. Let's start with a little background. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and you which determines the specific outcome of the case. More specifically, you agree to plead to one or more designated offenses and the State agrees to a reduced charge or at least a definite sentence. Such an agreement relieves the State from the possibility that you win your case at trial, leaving it with no conviction at all. Also, the Prosecutor is relieved from investing the time that litigating a case and trial involves. It is simply impossible for the Prosecutor, responsible for hundreds of cases, or sometime thousands, to try to litigate every case to the fullest. Even a misdemeanor case may take days to try. A felony may take several weeks. You can see that the prosecutor has important reasons to resolve cases by plea bargaining. Of course you also can receive substantial benefit. Plea agreements may make it possible to plead to a lesser offense, avoid a felony, guarantee not jail time, etc. Because the prevalence of plea bargaining, some people think they don't need a "trial attorney". Can't the cheapest attorney available work out the best deal available? The answer is no.
You Need A Trial Attorney to Plea Bargain Your Case.
The truth is that even if your goal is only negotiate the best possible agreement, you still need a trial attorney extremely knowlegible about all aspects of criminal law. Let's look at why. Negotiating a plea agreement is really not all that dissimilar from negotiating any other type of deal. Let's think about a deal for buying a car. If you were going to buy a car, do you think you'll get the best deal if, at the time you first meet the seller, he already knows that you have already decided to buy the car. Of course, the seller would never drop the price because he knows you're going to but it - whatever the price. Similarly, why would a prosecutor give the best deal to a defense attorney who has already decided to plead his client guilty? If you hire an attorney because you know he always pleads his clients guilty and never goes to trial, don't think the prosecutor knows that too? Remember, one of the main reasons a prosecutor plea bargains is to avoid the trouble of trying a case. If you hire an attorney whose entire strategy is simply to beg for the best deal, what incentive does the prosecutor have to give you a great deal to make your case go away? Going back to our car analogy, who would you rely on know if you were getting a good deal for a used car. Wouldn't you want someone like an auto mechanic with over twenty years of experience, passionate about his work, recognized in his field, who has experience in every aspect of automotive knowledge? Only that person could point out to the seller the problems with the car and explain why the price should be much lower than the seller wants. So too with a criminal defense attorney. Only a person who has litigated every aspect of criminal cases and tried those cases to the jury can legitimately explain to the prosecutor the weaknesses of their case and why their offer is unreasonable under the particular circumstances of your case. The point is clear. If you want the best plea bargain, you need the very best trial attorney you can find as your lawyer.
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