The Hidden Dangers of Pleading Guilty

Most people who are facing criminal charges want to get through the process as fast as possible. I cannot blame them. Being a defendant in a criminal court is a highly stressful experience. Appearing in court can often be embarrassing, expensive, and scary. So when an offer is made to a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge, it can be very tempting. I often hear people say " I plead guilty to get it over with.". Pleading guilty to criminal charges can have long-lasting consequences.


If you plead guilty to a felony, this can be devastating. In most states you will not be able to vote and future employers will simply not hire you if you have a felony conviction. If you put this in the context of a person who is twenty-two years old and pleads guilty to a felony, the hardships will be severe. There are some state and federal jobs that he will not be able to obtain as well as certain government benefits that preclude his participation because of a felony conviction. He may have ended the criminal case, but he has made his life very difficult from now on. Also, most states do not allow you to remove your criminal record, thus sticking you with a conviction for life.


Even misdemeanors and low level crimes can have negative effects. For example, the effects of a DWI/DUI conviction are numerous. First, your car insurance rates will skyrocket, then your credit score will be affected, even things as mundane as renting a vehicle become more difficult. Age is also a factor. If you are a young person and facing criminal charges, a guilty plea may affect you down the road. There is no way of knowing where life will take us. I am sure that when he was twenty years old, based on his background no one could have predicted President Obama's rise to the White House. Had he plead guilty in his early years, you can bet it would have turned up during the campaign. In fact, when George W. Bush was running someone dug up an old DWI conviction from Maine when he was 24. I am sure Mr. Bush was not contemplating his future when he plead guilty.


As a general rule, prosecutors make offers on their case because of a flaw in their case or because they want to get rid of it for some of the reason. Either way, no one should plead guilty to anything just to "get it over with" There is a lot on the line and only after serious discussions with an experienced criminal defense attorney should you ever enter a guilty plea.

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