Should I Still Hire an Attorney if I Think I’m Guilty?
Feb. 15, 2023
The backbone of our criminal justice system is based on the premise that everyone deserves competent legal representation when charged with a crime, and this is true regardless of guilt or innocence. If you’ve been arrested for a crime, you may hesitate to call a lawyer because you’re questioning, “Should I still hire an attorney if I think I’m guilty?”
However, even if you know you're guilty of charges against you, you can almost always benefit from working with a skilled criminal defense attorney. If you’re in the Los Angeles, California, region, including Torrance, Norwalk, Van Nuys, or Compton, call us at The Law Office of John Goalwin to talk.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
Each criminal case is as unique as the individual it affects. As such, the consequences of a guilty plea will vary from person to person and are based on several factors. These could include whether you have past criminal convictions, whether you’re being charged with other crimes concurrently, and whether the victim (if there was one) was part of a protected class such as the elderly or law enforcement.
Some of the more common penalties include serving jail or prison time, paying fines or other forms of restitution, having your driver’s license revoked or suspended, community service hours, and probation.
However, there are more repercussions of being convicted of a crime that many people don’t think about. These could include employment consequences if your license is suspended and you aren’t able to get to and from work, loss of a professional license for drug-related convictions or DUIs, the inability to carry or purchase a firearm, deportation if you’re living in the country undocumented, or even the loss of visitation or custody of minor children.
Coupled with damage done to personal and familial relationships, this should reinforce the necessity of hiring a criminal defense attorney to mitigate penalties as much as possible.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney Even if You Think You Are Guilty
When you plead guilty to a crime, you don’t automatically receive the maximum penalty. In almost all cases, judges have a range of penalties they can choose from based on the severity of the crime. When you work with a lawyer, they’ll advise you on your options, including negotiating a plea deal, requesting a lesser charge or less jail time, or alternatives to jail like community service or rehabilitation programs.
In all these cases, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and your lawyer can help dispute evidence in the courtroom and question the validity of their claims. Lastly, they can make sure the punishment fits the crime and that you don’t see a more severe punishment than necessary. Working through the various stages of the criminal process can be long and complicated, but your attorney will represent you every step of the way.
Communicating With Your Defense Attorney
An attorney’s allegiance is to their client, even if they’re guilty of committing a crime. Your attorney should never make you feel like they’re judging your actions or looking down on you.
Your responsibility as a client is to be completely truthful and answer all questions honestly. There’s no reason to withhold any information from them no matter how bad you think it may sound. In fact, it can actually be detrimental to your case if you pick and choose what you say or deliberately mislead them. That said, they will guide you as to what they want to know. Trust your attorney to get the relevant facts and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a crime and want to plead guilty, it’s almost always best to do this with the help of an attorney. Just because you’re guilty doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a lawyer protecting your rights and advocating for your best interests. Reach out to us at The Law Office of John Goalwin in Los Angeles, California, to schedule a consultation and to get started on your case.