When you are facing criminal charges in Ohio, pleading guilty might seem like the best option for you if you do not believe you will be able to successfully fight the charges. While pleading guilty to an offense can be beneficial for some defendants in certain circumstances, it is not the best choice for everyone, and it is certainly not a decision you should make without consulting an experienced Dayton criminal defense attorney. It is often in a prosecutor’s interest to have a defendant plead guilty because guilty pleas cost less time and money, and the prosecutor’s office gets a favorable result. Yet there are some reasons that a defendant might want to accept a plea bargain and plead guilty to an offense. The following are issues you should consider when you are thinking about pleading guilty to a crime.
You Should Not Expect to be Able to Take Back Your Guilty Plea
Once you plead guilty to a criminal offense, it is complicated and difficult to take back that guilty plea. For example, if new evidence comes up that could support your defense, or if you realize that there are unexpected consequences to your guilty plea, you cannot simply tell the court you no longer want to plead guilty. Instead, you will need to meet certain requirements under Ohio law.
You Waive Certain Rights by Pleading Guilty
Once you plead guilty to an offense, you will not be able to present a defense to the charges you are facing in a court, and you may not be able to appeal. To be sure, a guilty plea requires you to waive certain rights when you plead guilty to a criminal offense. Under Ohio law, a person who pleads guilty waives the right to challenge a conviction on various grounds, as well as to challenge appealable errors at trial. There are, however, many rights that are not waived with a guilty plea, including an appeal based on double jeopardy.
Sentencing is Not Determined Before You Enter a Guilty Plea
While the prosecutor can recommend a particular sentence if you agree to enter a guilty plea, the prosecutor cannot make absolute promises concerning the actual sentence you will receive. Once the prosecutor recommends a sentence to the judge, the judge will ultimately decide what is an appropriate sentence. Accordingly, you cannot be certain of your sentence before you accept a plea deal and agree to plead guilty.
You May be Able to Plead to a Lesser Offense
One of the benefits of accepting a plea deal in many cases is that, by pleading guilty, you can plead to a lesser offense than the one with which you have been charged. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, this could mean pleading guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony, or pleading guilty to an offense that will not require sex offender registration, for example.
Contact an Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Before you plead guilty, you should discuss the benefits and limitations of a guilty plea with one of our experienced Ohio criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Contact Comunale Law Office today for assistance with your case.