Should I Still Hire an Attorney if I Think I’m Guilty?
March 7, 2023
Suppose you’re pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) and a breath or blood test shows your alcohol level is above the limit of 0.08 percent, or you’re nabbed with an illegal drug on your person at a concert. You tell yourself: “They’ve got the goods on me. I should just plead guilty and get it over with.”
But do they really have “the goods” on you? Remember, they have to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” in court. Perhaps in either incident – DUI or drug possession – the arresting officer violated your rights or lacked probable cause to arrest you in the first place. That can jeopardize, if not eliminate, the prosecution’s entire case. Even the evidence submitted can be challenged on various grounds, including chain of custody.
In other words, before you rush to your own judgment and plead guilty, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and challenge the prosecution’s case. You may be able to get the charges lowered or dropped altogether, negotiate a plea bargain, or enter a diversion program to avoid any penalties and a lifelong criminal record.
If you’re facing a criminal charge of any type in or around Lawrence, Kansas, contact me at Chahine Legal LLC. I am committed to defending your rights and will aggressively work for the best possible outcome in your case. I represent clients throughout Kansas and Missouri, including Olathe, Overland Park, and Lenexa. Your initial consultation is free, so reach out immediately so we can get started on your defense.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
Pleading guilty just to get everything behind you, so to speak, is really not an option that will work in your favor. Even if prosecutors offer you a plea bargain, it’s probably not going to be the best deal you can obtain. Your own attorney can speak on your behalf and probably work out a better bargain, if not get the charges lowered or even dropped. And if you simply plead guilty, the consequences can be severe, depending on the crime with which you have been charged.
If you plead guilty, you can face not only imprisonment and fines but also probation. If it’s a DUI, you can lose your driving privileges and see your auto insurance premium skyrocket if your policy isn’t canceled outright. Even if your crime is a misdemeanor, you will end up with a criminal record that will haunt you going forward.
Having a criminal record makes it difficult to obtain employment and sometimes even housing. A prospective employer will invariably ask if you’ve ever committed a crime, and you will have to answer yes because your criminal record is available to the public. Your current employer may also view your admission of guilt as a reason to demote or terminate you. If you seek a professional license, your criminal record also may block you from obtaining it.
If you’re a foreign national, your admission of guilt can subject you to removal (deportation). Your admission of guilt can also result in loss of the custody of your children or visitation rights. Your admitted crime will invariably damage your familial relationships and perhaps your friendships and associations with others whom you rely on.
Finally, if the crime is a felony, in addition to the penalties such as imprisonment, fines, and probation, you may also lose your right to own and bear arms, sometimes even to vote. The consequences of rushing to plead guilty, in short, can be pretty dramatic and life-altering.
Reasons to Seek Out an Attorney Even if You Think You’re Guilty
Remember, the prosecution has a high legal standard to convict you. They must prove their case against you “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A defense attorney will do everything in their power to punch holes in the prosecution’s case to create a reasonable doubt. All evidence and testimony can be challenged.
Your attorney can also present your side of the story to the prosecutors, which can result in a lesser charge or perhaps even a dropping of the charge altogether. Your attorney can also negotiate for a favorable plea bargain or even to get you into a diversion program, which can avoid the normal penalties and free you from having a criminal record that the public can see.
Communicating With Your Defense Attorney
You need to be truthful with your attorney. Be open and honest even if you feel you’re guilty. Your attorney is there to defend your rights and challenge the case against you even if you feel in your heart that you’re guilty. It’s also important to seek out legal help from the moment of arrest.
Do not even answer questions (other than relating to your identity) before consulting with an attorney. Remember, the words of the Miranda Rights warning: “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” You do indeed have a right to remain silent and seek the representation of an attorney.
Don’t Face Your Charges Alone
I am licensed to practice in both Kansas and Missouri, so if you’re facing a criminal charge, contact me immediately. I will listen to your story, advise you of your rights and legal options, and then work with you on a strategy aimed at the best possible outcome.
A criminal charge is a serious matter, and you don’t want to just throw up your hands and say “guilty.” Too much is at stake. Reach out to me at Chahine Legal LLC.