The sixth amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees you the right to a jury trial in a criminal case. It guarantees you the right to confront the witnesses against you, and the right to have witnesses testify on your behalf.
The Plea Bargain Component
It does not guarantee you the right to a plea bargain. Sadly, though, most criminal cases in America’s courthouses end in plea bargain agreements: Defendants give up their rights, plead guilty and take whatever punishment the government will offer them.
Justice is Limited
If every criminal case in America were set for jury trial, the courts would shut down. There would be too much justice for the system to handle. We dream of a world when there are no more pleas of guilty, and everyone receives due process and justice.
Pleas are Best for Some Cases
We live, though, in the real world. Prosecutors offer defendants reductions in punishment — often substantial reductions — for their pleas of guilty and their cooperation. Often the best thing for one of our clients will be to plead guilty.
If you are guilty, you may choose to plead guilty. We will advise you of the risks and benefits of pleading guilty or pleading not guilty, and help you make an informed decision. We will never pressure you to plead guilty. You’ve paid us for a jury trial and you’ll get a jury trial.
If you’re not guilty, though, DON’T PLEAD GUILTY.