This question was posed on Avvo:
How far should a defendant fight a case? If no deal is offered, should the defendant take the case to trial?
The facts laid out in the question are as follows: I went with my friend to court to support him on a prostitution case. During that day I saw other men pleading no contest to prostitution charges; only one requested his case to go to trial. I noticed they all had the same PD. When they left the room I went out and talked to two of them. They told me that they had all been arrested the same night during a sting operation and had all gone to the pre-trial hoping for a deal, hoping for the DA to lower their charges to something like trespassing. Even though they were all first-time offenders, the DA refused to lower their charges. Their PD told them that if they went to trial and found guilty they could face jail time, so out of fear they plead no contest. The other guy, I was told, said to the PD he did not mind going to trial.
This questions sums up criminal defense in a nutshell. Say you won’t challenge the charges by blind pleading to the judge and getting the prosecutors recommendation. Your other option is to plea guilty and accept the deal straight from the prosecutor. It’s a clever avoidance but still ends up with the same result.
If a defendant has even a colorable defense, and the funds to do so, I would almost always suggest going to trial with a qualified attorney. While a judge might be inclined to impose a harsher sentence on a defendant who insisted on trial when they had no basis for doing so, judges are reluctant to punish a defendant for exercising their constitutional right to a trial by their peers. That being said, if you take a case to trial and lose, a conviction will be entered for the crime charged rather than whatever pled down version the prosecution might have offered. This could pose a risk for people with certain jobs, licenses, etc. At the very LEAST a consultation from a qualified attorney regarding your specific case and circumstances.
Jeff Krigel is an attorney in Tulsa who focuses his practice on criminal defense. The Jeff Krigel Law firm is a full-service Oklahoma law firm dedicated to achieving your legal goals in a competent, trusting, and result oriented manner. The firm is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and handles criminal defense, as well as other legal matters in all Oklahoma Counties, including, but not limited to: Tulsa divorce and family law, Tulsa speeding tickets, Tulsa DUI, etc . If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to seek the help of a qualified Tulsa criminal attorney. We offer free consultations and have payment plans available. There is no reason not speak with someone regarding your case. If you have questions regarding your specific case, or any other criminal matter, call for a free consultation. 918-994-2340