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Are Criminal Defendants Under Too Much Pressure to Plea?

When a person has their head under water, they struggle against the force and will do anything to come up for air. For criminal defendants, a plea deal can seem like they are gasping for air and the force they struggle against is their own attorney.

Attorneys are required to protect the rights of their clients, including the right to go to trial. Attorneys are required to listen to their clients and allow their clients to participate in their own defense. While an attorney can certainly advise their clients of the pitfalls of a trial and conviction, they must allow the voice of their clients to be heard and recognize their clients' choice to go to trial.

Very often attorneys meet their client, review the charging documents and then advise their client that they will plead the case out. That approach may infringe upon the rights of the accused. The criminal defendant has the absolute right to stand trial. Certainly, an attorney should consider all factors such as a defendant's prior criminal record and the nature of the crime, and then advise their clients of the best course of action, including a plea deal, if appropriate.

Plea agreements are an invaluable asset in the criminal justice world. They can be used to scale back the amount of time in jail that a Defendant is facing if convicted. However, a lawyer should also advise clients of their right to stand trial. Attorneys should review all of the evidence and discuss strategy with their clients before attempting to make plea agreements.

At Portner & Shure, P.A. our success with criminal cases is in reviewing all of the details, all of the evidence, and then making a decision as to whether our clients should stand trial, or consider a plea agreement. Portner & Shure counsels its clients on all options and the consequence of each option. More importantly, Portner & Shure allows our clients to be a part of the defense team and is not afraid to try a case.