We often get the question, do I still need a lawyer even if I’m guilty? We are all capable of legal mishaps. Oftentimes, miscommunication, mistakes, or heated moments lead us from dispute to the possibility of charges. The most important aspect of any legal charge is your intent. Many charges can be dismissed due to lack of criminal intention. However, what happens if you know you were negligent, reckless, intentional, or willful? What happens when you know you are guilty? Do you still need a lawyer?
Often Law enforcement will offer a plea bargain, which meansan agreement is formed between the prosecution and the defense. This is commonly done for an exchange of information, especially information that keeps the State from undergoing a lengthy investigation and trial. In a plea bargain law enforcement will usually offer a reduced sentence or reduced charges. These arrangements may seem like a “no brainer” but you should never enter into a plea bargain without an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected. By law, you have the right to an attorney at any time once you have been charged with a crime, even if you plead guilty. This right remains until an official judgement is rendered.
In addition to negotiating a plea bargain, counsel is needed to negotiate a sentence as well. Just because you may have committed a crime that does not mean the State has the right to “throw the book at you” or make an example of you. Many crimes in Georgia leave criminal punishments to the judge’s discretion by framing crimes with a minimum and maximum sentence, in most cases these sentencing frames are not mandatory. This means a Judge can use the entire life of a defendant and all the circumstances of the criminal event to pass the sentence for a crime. Anytime the law is left to the discretion of a Judge, a lawyer is needed to raise a defense based on legal precedent in order to protect your rights. A lawyer will also be able to present your lack of a criminal record or status as a hardworking citizen, etc. as a means to affect the outcome of your sentence.
An experienced lawyer will also be able to argue any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that may lead to a reduced sentence in spite of a plea bargain or guilty plea. An experienced attorney has many skills at their disposal in the court room, including a relationship with the Judge and prosecutor, knowledge of the criminal code, as well as how courts in your county usually prosecute a particular crime. In many cases, there are other ways to plead to protect your rights and ensure the law is upheld. Make sure you hire experienced counsel to represent you anytime you are in court, whether you are guilty or not.
At Bixon Law, we work cases with our client’s future in mind. We are passionate about keeping our clients informed about the law and diligently work on their behalf to resolve their case with the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one has questions, please call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.