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How a guilty plea could affect a defendant’s future

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Uncategorized |

Those facing significant criminal charges in Texas often decide to plead guilty. People may worry about the exposure that occurs during a criminal trial. They worry that community members or employers may find out about their charges and judge them. They may also worry about missing work to attend court and how much it can cost to mount a criminal defense at trial.

People frequently make the mistake of assuming that a guilty plea is the best reaction to a pending Texas charge. They anticipate minimizing their time in court and expect to receive a lenient sentence due to their cooperation with the state. However, many people who plead guilty to Texas criminal charges unknowingly diminish their opportunities for the future.

A guilty plea can lead to serious penalties

Despite the common expectation that a judge may sentence someone leniently after a guilty plea, that is not always the case. When someone enters a guilty plea in Texas, that process involves the courts warning someone of the potential consequences because of the penalties possible. A judge decides at their own discretion what consequences to impose after someone enters a guilty plea. Judges can sometimes hand down the maximum possible sentence even after a defendant agrees to cooperate with the state.

A guilty plea means a permanent criminal record

Someone who successfully fights their criminal charges can avoid a criminal record and the setbacks associated with a conviction. Someone who pleads guilty, even if the state allows them to plead to a lesser offense, has the stigma and burden of a criminal record to deal with indefinitely. Those performing background checks frequently assume that the person who pleaded guilty to an offense was guilty of the original charge, not the lesser offense involved in their plea arrangement. People may lose out on employment opportunities, rental housing and financial aid for college or postgraduate education because of a criminal record.

Depending on the charges that someone faces, there might be a number of different ways to successfully defend against pending criminal allegations. Fighting back against criminal charges may lead to a more favorable outcome than pleading guilty and placing oneself at the mercy of the courts.