If you are currently facing charges for a criminal offense in Nebraska you will eventually have to make a decision regarding how to plead in your case. You have the absolute right to require the State of Nebraska to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You also have the right to waive that right and plead guilty to the crime for which you are charged. If you are considering entering a plea of guilty you may be wondering “ If I intend to plead guilty why do I need a lawyer? ” There are at least two very good reasons why you should retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney even if you plan to plead guilty.
The first reason why a lawyer is still important is to ensure that you understand the implications of pleading guilty and that you are making the best decision for you. Contrary to what many people believe, a criminal defense attorney will not necessary discourage you from pleading guilty; however, your attorney is ethically bound to make sure that you:
- Understand the charges against you
- Understand the potential penalties you face if you plead guilty
- Understand the strength, or weakness, of the state’s case against you
- Making the decision to plead guilty voluntarily and of your own free will
All too often defendants are intimidated into pleading guilty by overzealous prosecutors who manage to convince the accused that the state’s case is a slam dunk – when in fact it is far from it. Moreover, there are a number of non-judicial penalties that may stem from a conviction, such as:
- Loss of a driver’s license
- Disciplinary action for a professional license
- Lost employment opportunities
- Inability to carry a firearm
- Inability to vote
- Interference with visitation or custody of minor children
Although these may not be part of a judicial sentencing, these negative consequences can be far worse than what the court actually sentences you to if you plead guilty.
Which brings us to the second important reason for hiring an attorney even if you plan to plead guilty. You need an attorney to negotiate the terms of your plea agreement. All plea agreements are not the same, despite what the prosecutor might like you to believe. There is almost always room to negotiate in a plea deal. If you enter into those negotiations without an attorney, however, the prosecutor all bus knows that he/she will walk away with the better end of the deal.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska and are considering entering into a guilty plea do yourself a favor and contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law before committing to anything. The office can be reached 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to allow you to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.