I was disappointed again yesterday to hear of the tendency of some criminal defense attorneys to focus on plea bargains. There are many reasons for this trend, all of which favor the attorney and not the client. Beware of this tendency when you talk to a Denver, Jefferson or Douglas County criminal defense lawyer.
Reasons Why Some Criminal Defense Attorneys Emphasize Plea Bargaining
First, it’s all about the money. We charge about the same amount of money to do the nontrial track of a criminal case as we do the trial track. Yet, the trial track takes triple the amount of time. Since lawyers get paid based on their time, they will make more money if a group of cases plea bargain out vs going to trial in Adams or Arapahoe County.
Second, it is stressful on the lawyer to go to trial. Whether an attorney cares about his client or not, going to trial is stressful. It is a highly conflicting time where lawyers try and get liars to tell the truth (especially in Domestic Violence cases). DAs are skilled lawyers who oppose us at every turn in Broomfield and Saguache County. You have to be on your “best game” for a minimum of 8 hours a day of trial, then four more at the office after trial. Preparation takes even more time than the actual trial.
Third, some criminal defense attorneys are not very skilled in the courtroom. You can look foolish at trial if you are not prepared and don’t know how to persuade a jury to your way of thinking. You must be prepared to challenge the DA under the Colorado Rules of Evidence and deal with difficult witnesses.
Can Plea Bargaining be Useful?
Absolutely. In fact, the vast majority of our cases end in a plea agreement. But we NEVER approach a case with plea bargaining as a preference. Plea bargains involve some plea of guilty to a criminal offense. This has negative consequences for our clients, whether by prison, jail, probation, sex offender registration, restraining orders or a criminal record. When a client has to plead guilty, it is a last resort for us – not the first. We never want to consider plea bargains unless our client has a strong chance of losing at trial. At trial, the winner takes all. The case is completely over with an acquittal and we lose big with a guilty verdict. Look for a lawyer who cares about you and you will find one who favors a trial to prove your innocence, if possible.
If contacted by police or a sheriff, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call our criminal defense attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.