When you’re charged with a white collar crime then you’ve got some tough decisions ahead. One of them is to decide whether to take a plea bargain or whether to take your day in court.
Though it’s impossible to give you specific legal advice without seeing the facts of your case, there are some general points which you’ll want to keep in mind when making this decision.
The Federal Conviction Rate
According to the Pew Research center, only 2% of federal defendants go to trial. Most of those who do don’t win their cases. Only 1% of defendants receive acquittal in federal court.
Why do the numbers look that way? One reason is that plea bargaining is part of the process. Most people prefer the sure thing.
Another reason is that the federal government has huge resources to throw at any criminal case. Often, they don’t even make an arrest until they are very sure they can make a case against you. They’re so confident in what they’re doing that they send target letters to people they intend to indict.
Finally, most juries are biased against defendants. Many assume that if you’re in court at all then you are guilty.
The Evidence Against You
The next thing you need to consider is the evidence against you.
Not your innocence. You’ll be surprised how much evidence the government can put together even when their target is innocent.
The question is whether you can prove your innocence, or whether the feds have a stronger story against you based on the information they have gathered. This is going to be a hard determination, since if you know you haven’t done anything wrong it’s going to be difficult to look at the case from a potential jury’s point of view.
Still, it’s an exercise you and your attorney should be going through.
The Deal on the Table
Finally you need to compare the deal on the table to the mandatory minimum sentence which you would have to face if you went to court.
Sometimes the feds offer a path which allows you to avoid jail time entirely, which credits you for time served, or which vastly reduces the amount of prison time you will face. It is worth it to thoughtfully consider the outcome that you want to achieve.
Your Attorney’s Advice
If you’re working with an experienced federal criminal attorney then you should be able to trust your attorney’s advice about whether or not it’s worth it to risk a trial. There will be some instances where you absolutely should risk it.
Don’t have an attorney yet? In trouble? Get a criminal defense attorney who understands federal law inside and out. Contact Koch Law for a consultation today.