We noted in our immediately preceding blog post the "plea bargain versus going to trial" calculus that goes on in legions of instances daily across the country. We underscored in our August 7 entry at the established St. Louis criminal defense firm of Frank, Juengel & Radefeld the "thought process ... and related considerations" that play out in a trial-or-plea analysis.
As stressed in one recent online overview of the subject matter, here is one of them: "Jury trials are always a crap shoot."
Although that is perhaps a slightly dramatic way of viewing a fundamental constitutional right, it is certainly understandable from a defendant's perspective. There is unquestionably an element of uncertainty linked with a trial, with a worst-case downside being absolutely material for an accused party.
And then there is this: readily confirmed tougher sentencing outcomes for individuals who opt for trial rather than a negotiated plea. A recent report from the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys stresses that an average trial-linked sentence is "more than triple the average post-plea sentence."
Such considerations make a plea-or-trial determination a truly weighty matter. There can be a lot to think about for a defendant who is offered a plea in lieu of a trial date. That is especially true if that individual is actually innocent of criminal charges and/or reasonably seems to have a case that might positively influence jurors.
In any such deliberation, it is key for a defendant to have the studied and on-point counsel of a proven criminal defense attorney. Fear of trial is what heavily influences many criminal suspects to take a plea, even when that decision is questionable and they have a reasonably strong case. It is often legal counsel's readiness - or lack thereof - for a trial that is a determining factor in a client's strategy and the subsequent outcome of a criminal case.
We know that intimately at Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, noting on our website that, "From the very beginning, we prepare [every client's] case for trial."
We welcome readers' contacts to the firm to discuss matters relevant to trial and plea negotiations, as well as to other matters important to an aggressive and knowledgeable defense representation.