Pleas in DC Burglary Cases

An individual who is charged with burglary or any other crime is presumed to be not guilty and it is presumed that their plea initially will be not guilty. A not guilty plea indicates that the defendant claims they are not criminally culpable for the crime of which they are accused. The other plea would be the standard plea of guilty, where a person is admitting to what they have been accused of.

In a criminal case, a court would be extremely reluctant to allow a defendant to simply plead guilty without having had the opportunity for their attorney to investigate the case and discuss it with their clients and with the government, to see what options there might be. It is rarely in an individual’s best interest to simply plead guilty at the initial hearing. Even if they feel they are morally guilty, they should allow their attorney the opportunity to see what the government’s case looks like, and advocate on their behalf for the best possible outcome.

It is critically important to have an experienced burglary attorney advocate for you, try to get you the best result, and see if this is a case where a guilty plea of some type is advisable or not. If it is advisable, they can try to get the best possible plea agreement they can, rather than just initially pleading guilty and suffering all the penalties, some of which may not be applicable to your case.

What to Consider Before

Before making a decision on what plea to enter, it is important to consider the possible penalties as well as the likely penalties. Many crimes have a very onerous maximum penalty, but that is not necessarily realistic for a first-time offender. You need to consider what the possible penalties are, and what the likely penalties are. How strong or weak is the case against the defendant, and what ancillary consequences are there if an individual pleads guilty?

Ancillary consequences refer to consequences to an individual’s driver’s license or professional license, immigration status, career, and things of that nature. The defendant must also consider the likelihood of incarceration and how the consequences of that could affect their family and career. There are many aspects about the case and the individual which need to be taken into consideration before deciding whether or not a plea is advisable.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining can vary dramatically from case to case, depending upon the facts of the case, the specific facts, and background of the individual charged with burglary, or any other offense. Due to burglary’s mandatory prison terms associated with a conviction, oftentimes the government will make a plea offer to a lesser charge than burglary. This can entice the defendant to plead guilty to avoid a mandatory prison sentence, however, it depends on the facts of the case. Since burglary is viewed as a serious offense,  the prosecutor may not back away from a plea agreement involving pleading guilty to either first or second degree burglary, with mandatory prison. The prosecutor may have serious concerns about the defendant’s conduct and their decisions. Depending on the case, the prosecutor may be willing to extend the plea offer to eliminate the mandatory prison sentence or simply refuse to.

Benefit of an Attorney

It is not just extremely important, it is critical, to have an experienced attorney in DC advocating for and assisting you in any criminal case. An individual cannot be expected to understand the complications of the criminal law and procedure. A defendant without representation could easily be taken advantage of by a prosecutor, the procedure, and the system itself.

A judge would be extremely hesitant to allow a defendant to proceed with their own defense, without an attorney at least advising them. In certain circumstances individuals are able to do so, if they can show the court that they are serious and they have a basic understanding on what is going on. However, the court would still be extremely hesitant to allow that to go forward, because a judge understands how complex the legal process is and the serious disadvantage an individual going forward without an attorney puts themselves in. Therefore, it is theoretically possible to plea bargain without a lawyer, but to be able to do so the court will have to sign off on allowing you to go forward without counsel.