If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime that you know you committed, you may feel overwhelmed. You may even wonder if your best option is to just plead guilty and accept whatever sentence or plea bargain is offered to you. However, facing the court with an attorney by your side can give you options you wouldn’t otherwise have.
The burden of proof is on the prosecutors to show you’re guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a high legal standard. There are many compelling reasons to challenge the prosecution’s case, challenge the evidence, or question if your rights were violated in the arrest process. At our firm, we will examine the circumstances of your arrest and work with you on a plan to fight for the best possible outcome.
If you are facing a criminal charge in or around Lincoln, Nebraska, contact our criminal defense attorneys at Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. immediately. We proudly serve clients in Lincoln and the rest of Nebraska, including Lancaster County, Gage County, Saline County, Seward County, Otoe County, Cass County, and Saunders County.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
Guilty pleas, like convictions in court, have serious and long-lasting consequences. Depending on the crime you admit to, you can face imprisonment, fines, probation, and a criminal record that may follow you for the rest of your life.
A criminal record can jeopardize your working career because it is publicly available. When you apply for a job, you’ll likely be asked if you’ve ever been guilty of a crime. If you have a criminal record, you’ll have to answer yes. Often, this closes the door on that job. Answering no could even be worse if the employer checks your criminal record. In other words, with a criminal record, the job of your dreams may become out of reach.
The same holds true for seeking professional licensing. A criminal record can make it impossible to obtain a license for something like real estate or even cosmetology.
A criminal record can also make it difficult (if not impossible) to obtain certain public benefits, such as losing your right to own and bear arms or even your right to vote. If you’re not a United States citizen, you also could face deportation, severing you from your family and loved ones.
There can also be severe consequences to your personal and family life. You may lose visitation or custody rights to your children. You’ll have a stain on your reputation that could alter or even end the relationships you rely on with family, friends, and loved ones.
Possible Defenses Against Charges
There are many possible defenses your attorney can use if you’ve been charged with a crime, including but not limited to the following:
Mental state, including mental health or mental impairment from drugs or alcohol
Presumption of innocence
Consider a simple case of driving under the influence: a DUI charge. The officer pulls you over and administers a breath test. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) comes in at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. You may say to yourself: “They’ve got me. I might as well plead guilty and get this over with.”
However, there may have been violations of your rights in the process. For instance, perhaps the officer didn’t have probable cause to pull you over, or the breathalyzer being used wasn’t calibrated according to standards, or the officer didn’t follow proper procedures in administering the test. These facts could all be used in your defense, perhaps to get the charge lowered or even dropped altogether.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney if You Believe You’re Guilty
When facing charges, never answer any questions until you’ve spoken with an attorney. Your Miranda Rights are stated to you before an arrest for a reason: you have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise those rights. Let your attorney deal with the prosecutors and represent you in any hearings or interrogations. Do not plead guilty without consulting with an attorney.
A criminal defense attorney can meet with prosecutors, convey your side of the story, and fight for a positive outcome, including striving for a plea bargain. There also may be diversion programs that could replace jail time. Ultimately, your attorney will be able to survey all the options so that you might avoid the strictest of penalties.
Trusted Representation in Nebraska
Even if you believe your prosecutors have a solid case against you, please know you have options. Fight for the best one with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., we believe our job is to gather the facts, assess the situation, and evaluate your best course going forward. If you’re facing a criminal charge in or around Lincoln, Nebraska, reach out immediately. We will discuss your options, share potential consequences, and fight to achieve the best possible outcome.