The decision about whether an accused individual should plead guilty to a crime as part of a plea deal with the prosecuting attorney depends upon a variety of factors. Those factors include the likelihood of success at trial (i.e., by asserting a defense to the criminal charge or charges), as well as the specific charge and the potential penalties involved.
As a general rule, courts like and encourage plea bargaining because it eliminates the need for a criminal jury trial. However, the decision rests with the accused to accept or reject a pending plea deal – and with the judge to accept the deal, reject it, or suggest changes to it. Once the accused decides to accept a guilty or no contest plea, the judge will hear the plea in open court. When the judge accepts the plea deal, sentencing may take place at that time, or the court may set in a sentencing hearing for a later date.
The experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys at Turnbull Legal Group can help you determine whether a particular plea deal is worth accepting or whether you are better off rolling the dice and taking your case to trial. Give us a call today at 832-479-2104 or contact us online to learn more about how we could assist you with your criminal case.
Whether the Court will Accept a Plea
There are many factors that judges use when deciding to accept a plea and varies greatly from judge to judge. In many instances, a judge will accept an agreed-upon plea bargain, assuming that the sentence is reasonable and is what the presiding judge would deem fair under the circumstances. Some judges may also consider whether or not the accused previously appeared in his or her courtroom previously – and what they remember about that incident. The judge may also consider (rightly or wrongly) how he or she feels about the subject crime with which the accused has been charged.
Understanding Your Rights when Pleading Guilty
When a criminal accused decides to accept a plea deal and plead guilty to a criminal offense, he or she is giving up various legal rights. At the plea hearing, a judge will make sure that the accused understands each and every right which he or she is giving up, and the accused will have to give his or her verbal assent. In other words, the accused has to make both a knowing and intelligent guilty plea. To plead guilty, the accused must:
- Admit his or her conduct
- Fully understand the criminal charge or charges
- Understand the plea consequences
- Understand that he or she is giving up the right to a trial by jury
- Understand that he or she is giving up the right to not incriminate himself or herself
Speak to a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer about Your Charge Today
The legal team at Turnbull Legal Group can help you make an informed decision when it comes to pleading guilty to your criminal charge. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation, please call us today at 832-479-2104 or contact us online for more information.