Pleas in DC Sex Abuse Cases

Generally speaking, there are two pleas—not guilty and guilty. Initially, your DC sex abuse attorney will enter a plea of not guilty for you. It simply doesn’t make sense to immediately say, “I have done it” without having the opportunity to see what evidence there is against you and what your attorney can do for you.

It is standard that, when an individual is arrested and brought before the court for their arraignment or their presentment on a felony, the attorney will enter a not guilty plea for them. Later on as the case progresses, that not guilty plea may change to a guilty plea by the defendant under the right circumstances, meaning the individual chooses to accept some form of agreement from the government in exchange for a guilty plea.

Pleading Guilty

You must consider the specific ramifications of a guilty plea, meaning what the possible punishment and sentence will be in that case. That is the initial consideration, but there are many ramifications to pleading guilty. If it’s a felony, you lose certain rights like the right to vote, the right to hold office, or the right to have firearms. There are also other ancillary  ramifications like the effect it has on your job, the effect it has on your professional license, the effect it has on your driver’s license depending upon the case, or the effect it may have on your ability to obtain certain benefits, including government and private benefits. All of these things need to be considered and explored before deciding whether you want to change your not guilty plea to a guilty plea.

The Advantages of Having Experienced Counsel

It’s crucial to have an attorney in the criminal justice system in the United States. While it’s probably the best criminal justice system in the world, it is not perfect and it is very complex. Additionally, the power is stacked in favor of the government and the prosecution. They have unlimited resources and they have the ability to completely control certain aspects of the process.

It’s critical to have an attorney and your attorney needs to keep you apprised all along the way of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, of the possible strategies, and of what the options are. Without having an experienced attorney guiding you and advocating for you along the way, the average person simply won’t have enough knowledge or experience to make informed decisions and they could be taken advantage of. Every once in a while in court we will see someone insist they represent themselves and the judge will be very hesitant to grant that request, however, in some circumstances, the judge is compelled to do so. That is a very poor decision by the defendant who chooses to represent him or herself, because they are not going to have the necessary experience, knowledge, and awareness of what is the right thing to do and how is the best way to prepare and present the defense.

It is absolutely critical that any defendant has an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help them through the process. That attorney, in addition to bargaining with the government and advocating in front of the court and with the prosecutor on the client’s behalf, is also going to fight every step of the way to try to obtain the best possible outcome.

Plea Bargains in DC Sex Abuse Cases

It varies from case to case in a sexual abuse situation. Oftentimes the plea might be for an attempt as opposed to the completed act, or the plea might be to the next lower level of a like-offense, meaning a first degree being pled down to the third degree, a second degree being pled down to the fourth degree, or perhaps any of those charges being pled down to a misdemeanor sexual abuse. A misdemeanor sexual abuse could possibly be pled down to a simple assault.

In very rare circumstances, perhaps if the government’s case has some serious problems as the case progresses, it may offer some form of diversion. However, that’s extremely rare. Usually any kind of plea offer, if a person has no other prior criminal history, would be to either a lesser offense, or the government may agree that if the plea is guilty they will agree not to ask for the maximum penalty or they won’t oppose a probation, or something similar.