This is the next post in our series on issues an Arkansas defendant should consider before accepting a plea deal. Our last article looked at why one may wish to wait for their attorney to investigate the case before pleading guilty. The reason for conducting an investigation is simple – additional facts may lead to a better plea offer. In this post we will discuss the need to be honest with one’s self regarding whether or not probation can be successfully completed. A defendant who pleads guilty, without fully understanding the consequences of probation, may be setting him or herself up for failure.
Pleading guilty in a criminal case is not a decision to be taken lightly. Besides the lasting consequences (which are a subject for a later article) there are immediate ramifications. After a guilty plea is entered then one will be placed on probation (assuming those are the terms of the agreement). This means that the defendant will be required to check in with a supervising officer, to keep the supervisor informed as to their address, take drug tests, perform community service, pay certain fees, etc. The failure to meet these conditions can result in one being alleged to have violated their probation. Once such an allegation is made, the accused will often face a revocation proceeding and may have to serve prison time. This potential consequence means that your decision, regarding a guilty plea, should be taken very seriously.
One of the greatest mistakes a defendant can make is to assume that they can succeed on probation without honestly considering the likelihood of their doing so. A defendant may, out of a desire to resolve their case, think that they can turn over a new leaf and meet all of their requirements. If, however, one is a person who has difficulty keeping appointments, has been fired from numerous jobs, or if one has addiction issues, then they should honestly consider whether they are simply setting themselves up for failure. Accepting a deal for the purpose of resolving a case serves little benefit when one is likely to violate the terms of their supervision. The result, unfortunately, may be one waiving legitimate defenses as part of a guilty plea only to later go to prison anyway. Consulting with an attorney, about the pros and cons of a plea agreement is crucial.
Our Little Rock criminal defense lawyers understand the serious nature of pleading guilty. Prior to entering such a plea on your behalf we will ensure that you understand the consequences of such a decision and honestly believe the choice to be in your best interests. We take pride in the high level of service we provide and will be in regular communication with you while you are making this difficult decision. We will be here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.