I got charged with shoplifting at the local department store. My public defender says the evidence against me is strong and that I should plead guilty. I want to go trial. Don't I have any say here?
One very useful service a public defender -- or private criminal defense lawyer, for that matter -- can provide is a reality check: a knowledgeable, objective perspective on what is likely to happen should your case go to trial.
This dose of reality is vital when you're trying to decide whether to accept a prosecutor's offered "plea bargain." Usually the prosecutor offers a reduced or waived punishment in return for your guilty plea. Your public defender may see this as a tempting deal compared to going to trial and risking full-scale punishment if you're found guilty.
But notice that we said when you are trying to decide whether to take the prosecutor's offer. The decision whether to go to trial is yours and yours alone.
Proof & Defenses in Criminal Cases
Getting a Lawyer for your Criminal Case
Steps in a Criminal Defense Case
Arraignment: Your First Court Appearance
Plea Bargains (Deals) in a Criminal Case
Legal Elements of Common Crimes
Expungement & Criminal Records
Should I just plead guilty and avoid a trial?
Is the public defender a real lawyer?
Can I change defense lawyers after I've hired one?
How long after arrest do I find out what the charges are?
Does it matter whether a suspect is given the Miranda warning?
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