Facing criminal charges can be overwhelming and embarrassing. Often, dealing with criminal charges can be confusing, too.
As you contemplate your options, it can seem like entering a guilty plea can make the issue go away faster than if you take the time to fight the charges in court. While a guilty plea may be faster, it can often have devastating consequences that can last a lifetime.
Here’s what you should know before you enter a guilty plea.
Not a simple answer
A guilty plea can seem like the simple solution to make criminal charges go away. However, there are often consequences beyond sentencing when you enter a guilty plea. Depending on the charges, pleading guilty could impact many areas of your life, including:
- Continuing or starting your post-secondary education
- Owning or carrying a firearm
- Pursuing certain careers
Initially, it may seem like you can limit or avoid a sentence altogether. Still, some of the consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record can last the rest of your life.
There are still options
Getting out of a guilty plea can be complex, but it is not impossible. While judges will not allow you to simply change your mind, there are reasons you can withdraw your guilty plea, including:
- Lacking an understanding of the charges
- Being uninformed of your constitutional rights
- Lacking a factual basis for the plea
There are time limits for withdrawing a guilty plea, so acting immediately and with skilled assistance is essential.
The criminal court system can be confusing, especially if you are facing your first criminal charges. It is essential to talk to an experienced professional about your options for moving forward.