Considering a Harris County Jury Trial?Published: Jul 22, 2021 in Criminal Defense
If you’re charged with a crime, you have options. Whether you decide to go to trial or accept a plea will depend on many factors, but your attorney should explain what puts you in the best possible position. A Harris county criminal court sounds scary, but trials are there to be won, and it could be the best way to clear your name.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering a trial to address criminal charges in or around Houston, TX.
Pleading guilty means you worked out an arrangement to accept the consequences for some portion of what was alleged against you. Usually, pleading guilty results in a more lenient punishment or other favorable terms, but there are long-term ramifications.
Pros of Guilty Plea
If you plead guilty, the case will finish faster. Facing the case head-on and dealing with the consequences allows you to get on with the rest of your life sooner. You may be in a challenging situation with solid evidence of your guilt.
Without a trial, the cost of your defense will be less, and you avoid the uncertainty of putting your fate in the hands of total strangers on the jury. You and your family will also prevent the stress and embarrassment that can come with a public trial.
Accepting a Plea Bargain
A guilty plea after a plea bargain agreement is a better way to go. In exchange for the prosecution not spending resources on a trial it may lose, you get something in return.
That’s usually a guilty plea to a lesser charge with a sentence that both sides agree on; however, the judge can accept or reject the agreement.
Cons of Guilty Plea
A guilty plea can be hard to accept if you’re innocent. You may need to be incarcerated, pay fines and court costs. Unless you can get it cleared in the future, your criminal record may follow you for the rest of your life.
Despite the agreement, you may face a mandatory minimum sentence, depending on the charge, the facts of the case, and your prior record.
Going to Trial in Houston
Going to court always has risks, but a trial may be in your best interest for many reasons.
Pros of Going to Trial
It may take place six months to two years after your arrest, depending on the charge and complexity of the case. That’s time you can prepare your defense and spend time with your loved ones. If you’re innocent, a trial’s the only way to have justice, escape consequences, and avoid a criminal record.
Creating Reasonable Doubt
The prosecution, not you, has the burden of proof. They must show you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can create that doubt, the jury should find you not guilty. You may have strong defenses that the prosecution may not be able to overcome.
Plea Bargain Vs. Going to Trial
The prosecution may not be very interested in a reasonable plea bargain.
If there’s not much difference in the outcome of the proposed plea bargain and a guilty verdict, a trial may be worth it. You’ll spend the rest of your life knowing you gave it your best shot and left it up to the jury.
Get Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal defense is all about getting you the best outcome possible. Depending on the facts and the law, that could mean:
- An early dismissal
- An acceptable plea bargain agreement
- A strong defense at trial.
Attorney Ned Barnett began his career as a state and federal prosecutor until he opened The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. With a long history of success and insight into how prosecutors handle cases, he knows what it takes to defend you against criminal charges.
If you need help or have questions about your case, call (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free consultation.