Do Most Criminal Cases Go To Trial Or Do They Plead Out?
Most cases settle, either through a dismissal or plea. The system cannot handle every case going to trial, and frankly, most cases should not go to trial. Oftentimes, the best course of action for a defendant is to try to reach a resolution early on that limits their exposure and mitigates their risk. Deciding between taking a plea offer and going to trial can be very difficult, as losing at trial might either carry a sentence of life in prison or allow the person to walk free, while taking a plea could result in a guaranteed sentence, such as 15 years in prison. Some people don’t have a choice but to go to trial, as the sentence they would face after losing at trial is the same as the plea offer.
How Much Does A Prior Arrest Or Conviction Impact My Current Criminal Case?
Prior convictions can be used to increase a defendant’s punishment, and they may cause a prosecutor to be less inclined to cut a deal. If someone has a prior arrest but no conviction, then the prosecutors could not use that against them, except under limited circumstances. For example, if someone who is arrested for domestic violence has a history of having been arrested twice before for domestic violence, then those prior arrests could be used as evidence of the defendant’s propensity to commit violence; the same idea applies to sexual assault cases. Ultimately, the degree to which a prior arrest or conviction will impact a criminal case will depend on the nature of the arrest and/or conviction.
Are Alternative Punishments Available For First-Time Criminal Offenders In California?
Alternative punishments may be available on a case-by-case basis for first-time criminal offenders in California. For example, the court might allow someone who was convicted of DUI to be on house arrest or wear an ankle bracelet that detects whether they are using alcohol or drugs. They might be permitted to leave for work, but they would be restricted to doing so at certain times and on certain days. There is also the option of community service in lieu of jail time, or deferred entry of judgment. If someone were to complete the requirements, they would ultimately be able to avoid a conviction.
In Orange County, there is also a program that allows someone to provide a sample of their DNA to be put in the database in exchange for a lesser sentence or dismissal. For some people, this is a good option because they are not going to be committing crimes in the future, so they have no reason to be concerned about having their DNA in the database. There are some, however, who have a more checkered past and possibly a checkered future, so they don’t want to put their DNA in the database, and others who have privacy issues and simply don’t like the idea of giving away their DNA. A defendant should explore this with their lawyer in order to determine if it is the right choice.
There are many different types of alternative punishments, like community service, house arrest, deferred entry of judgment, diversion in drug and alcohol cases, and inpatient/outpatient treatment, all of which are holistic ways to treat the underlying problems instead of putting someone in jail, which at the end of the day not only affects the citizen who is being jailed, but society at large in terms of the cost of jailing someone.
For more information on Litigating A Criminal Case In California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 769-1200 today.