Should You Plead Guilty or Fight Your Criminal Charges?

Dec 7, 2021

In this blog post, we discuss just a few of the benefits of working with a criminal defense attorney.

If you are facing criminal charges, it can feel as though the odds are stacked against you. You may be facing serious fines and possible jail time. While you may feel the need to fight your criminal charges in front of a jury, you might also feel pressure to accept a plea deal or simply plead guilty to your criminal charges.

Before you make a decision that could affect the rest of your life, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if negotiating a plea deal is the best course of action for your situation, a criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case and build a strong defense that could result in a more favorable outcome. And should you take your case to trial, a criminal defense attorney can help present evidence, cross examine witnesses, and question critical pieces of evidence to help persuade a jury of your innocence.

Still unsure of what is the best course of action for your case? In this blog post, we discuss just a few of the benefits of working with a criminal defense attorney.


Reduced sentencing

Negotiating a plea deal could help you to receive a lighter sentence. During a plea bargain, the prosecutor may discuss the maximum sentence the jury might impose if you choose to go to court. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you may be able to reduce the prison sentence by pleading guilty to some or all of the charges brought against you.

Quick Closure To Your Case

Criminal cases can take months or years in court before they are finalized. During this time, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, fearful, and exhausted. One benefit of negotiating a plea deal is that you can expedite this process and begin to move forward – even in the face of potential jail time.

Avoid Uncertainty

If you go to  trial, the decision to convict you lies in the hands of the jury. While a criminal defense attorney can help build a strong defense, it is impossible to know how a jury will react to the evidence and witness testimony used against you. By accepting a plea deal, you will retain some control over the outcome of your case.


You forfeit important constitutional rights

Once you plead guilty, you lose your right to trial. This means you don’t have the right to cross-examine the prosecutor’s evidence, testify, call witnesses or make the prosecutor prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove you are guilty – it is not your responsibility to prove you are innocent.


Pleading guilty can help you resolve your case quickly, however,  you may have less time to prepare for jail time. In addition, prosecutors and judges may be bound by law to impose a minimum sentence, depending on the crime you are charged with. This means that even though you have negotiated a plea deal, the state has limited discretion in setting the sentence that you receive.

It comes with several social consequences

Pleading guilty – even when no jail time is involved – comes with serious consequences. A criminal conviction will be on your permanent record, impacting your ability to find work, secure loans, and pursue an education. If you and your attorney believe that there is a strong defense, going to trial may be in your best interest.


If you choose to plead guilty, there are so many risks involved. It’s always advisable to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Ryan Swingle of Ryan Swingle Law to examine the prosecutor’s offer and negotiate better before you sign the plea agreement. Whether you have already decided to plead guilty or not, it’s crucial to have a lawyer on your side to ensure your rights are protected.


If you have been accused of a crime in Athens and are unsure what to do next, you need to get an experienced Athens criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. At Ryan Swingle Law, we will ensure you get the best legal representation you need to protect your rights. Please contact us online or call us at 706-713-0332 to schedule a consultation.