What if I just want to plead guilty?
If you wish to plead guilty, a defense lawyer can help ensure that you are treated fairly and reasonably. The penalties for many offenses are unexpectedly harsh, and the government is not always inclined to graciously accept your plea and agree to leniency.
In fact, in some instances you may be able to take responsibility for the offense without suffering the ramifications of a guilty finding on your record.
You do not have to just submit yourself to the system. Importantly, there are often consequences of a guilty finding beyond the court’s sentence that the court and prosecutor will not tell you about, such as:
- Loss of driver’s license;
- Loss of student loan eligibility;
- Insurance premium increases;
- Loss of housing eligibility;
- Loss of the right to attend and participate in your child’s school events;
- Suspension or loss of professional licences;
- Significant costs and requirements for probation;
- Suspension or other punishments at school;
- Loss of employment.
The judge and prosecutor are not required to determine which, if any, so-called “collateral consequences” apply to you, and they are not required to notify you about them. If you do not know ahead of time what the hidden ramifications of a guilty finding are, you will only find out about them when they happen to you.
In short, you should never simply count on the mercy of the court or prosecutor. You will seldom find it. If you intend to admit to an offense, you need a lawyer who will take the time to learn who you are, where you come from, and where you wish to go. As simple as your situation may seem, it is likely that there are collateral effects you will want to know about before you plead the case out.