In felony cases, the original plea offer is typically off the table once the preliminary hearing occurs. The plea offer is even more likely to be off the table once it’s set for trial and the trial starts. The defendant can usually plead to something at any time—even during the trial. However, there are sometimes cases where the crimes were particularly bad and the prosecutor has stated that there will be no plea offer. The defendant has no choice but to take that case to trial. There are other cases where the state could realize that their trial is going badly and either renew a plea deal or offer a new one.
How Important Is It for Someone To Fully Understand Their Options Before Going To Trial?
It is very important for a defendant to know all of their options before going to trial. They must make an informed decision. Incomplete or missing information can lead to bad decisions. So, it’s up to the defense attorney to be as informed as possible, which means researching the case, looking at the statutes, considering any additional statutes that could enhance the punishment, and examining the defendant’s criminal history—since it can be used to enhance a punishment. Not every defense attorney knows everything. A smart defense attorney is going to ask questions and seek the advice of other attorneys who may have more knowledge in a certain area.
How Does Going To Trial Affect The Overall Cost Of a Case?
Trials are expensive; even at a minimum, they can cost thousands of dollars. Additionally, the defendant will often have to spend more money on experts, investigators, and co-counsel during the course of a trial. Trials are also time consuming; they force the attorney to block out at least an entire week of their schedule. Oftentimes, attorneys will have to spend many late nights and weekends on trial preparation. Unfortunately, a lack of funds often serves as an incentive for a defendant to take a plea deal. So, even if a defendant thinks that they may ultimately be successful in trial, they could be prevented from doing so due to an inability to pay for a trial.
How Does Your Personality And Experience In The Courtroom Affect The Outcome Of A Trial?
I like the challenge of going to trial, and I like to win. But ultimately, the decision is always the client’s. Only the defendant knows if they actually committed the crime. It’s easier to prove someone guilty if they actually committed the crime. I offer my best advice and let the client make the decision. Just because I like the challenge of going to trial, that doesn’t mean that I will talk a client into a trial when it is not in their best interest.
I have been to trial multiple times. There is no better preparation for trail than to actually have done one. Experience gained from each trial applies to each subsequent trial. You don’t want somebody handling your case who has never gone to trial—because your case might end in trial. Lack of trial experience can make an attorney hesitant to go to trial, which could mean they talk their client into a bad plea deal. It’s important to have an attorney who is not afraid to go to trial.
I prepare thoroughly for trial. Trial prep starts the day a client hires me. I work on a case knowing that it could possibly go to trial. Therefore, I evaluate evidence with the mindset of how things could go if it were presented at trial. Thorough trial preparation involves coming up with a theme, theory of the case, and defenses well ahead of time. There is too much at stake to wait until the last minute to come up with those things. Additionally, I anticipate what evidence will be presented, what witnesses would say, and what I would ask witnesses during cross-examination.
I have gone through extra training on how to be successful in trial. This includes seminars and classes focused on voir dire, cross-examination, and giving opening statements & closing arguments. I feel that it’s important to stay knowledgeable on the latest techniques in trial advocacy.
For more information on Taking A Criminal Case To Trial, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.