To Plead Guilty or Not to Plead Guilty (Shouldn't I have an attorney on my side?)

When being investigated for or charged with a crime, many people in the criminal justice system will often offer you a plea deal that in many instances they will scare you into accepting. When this happens, who is protecting your rights, and is accepting the best solution to a tough situation?

According to the Innocence Project’s estimates, between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of all US prisoners are innocent. The American prison population numbers about 2.4 million. Using those numbers, as many as 120,000 innocent people could currently be in prison.
— Why are There Up to 120,000 Innocent People in US Prisons? Vice News by Justin Rohrlich

Why Are There Up to 120,000 Innocent People in US Prisons? / Vice News by Justin Rohrlich

The article from Vice News sums up the controversy behind getting people to accept plea deals because the alternative is extreme punishment if found guilty. A trial is a great risk, but when one is innocent, should they ever plead guilty? No is the simple answer, but in criminal law, nothing is simple. 

A 1969 Supreme Court ruling made it legal for cops to lie to suspects in pursuit of confessions”,

”Guilty pleas and false confessions by the innocent are counterintuitive phenomena, says Rebecca Brown, director of state policy at the non-profit Innocence Project. But of the 321 DNA exonerations that have occurred in the United States, 30 have involved people who originally pled guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. It’s hard to accept that people who are innocent would knowingly incriminate themselves, but it happens frequently.”,

”Overwhelmingly, minimizing harm means taking a deal instead of taking your chances at trial. And just as false confessions lead to false convictions, coercive plea bargains are also responsible for sending thousands of innocent people to prison.
— Why are There Up to 120,000 Innocent People in US Prisons? Vice News by Justin Rohrlich

Essentially, a person should never plead guilty to any crime without adequate representation from a criminal defense attorney. Whether the charge is very serious and violent in nature like murder or rape, or just a misdemeanor charge for crimes such as drunk in public, simple possession or driving under the influence, the best plan of action is to have a criminal defense attorney represent you. 

A criminal defense attorney such as myself can not only help you reach an adequate and fair deal with a prosecutor, but will know when the time is right to fight a charge because either you are innocent or the evidence against you was obtained improperly. Not only do you need years of education and experience on your side, but someone who is willing to fight the system designed to put you behind bars is in your best interest. What works at getting you the best possible outcome when facing a criminal charge? Hard work by someone on your side fighting for your rights.