There are thousands of ways that you can violate criminal statutes in California. From possessing the wrong items to behaving too aggressively toward other people, numerous personal mistakes might lead to your arrest and prosecution. The courts can sentence you to prison, demand that you pay massive fines or revoke your driver’s license, depending on the charges you face.
It is more common than not for those accused of a criminal offense to plead guilty because they fear the costs and publicity associated with going to trial. Prosecutors help pressure people into guilty pleas by bringing as many charges as possible or the most severe charge that could apply to the situation.
While a guilty plea will certainly reduce how much time you spend in court, it will saddle you with a lifelong criminal record. That record alone is justification for defending against any charge ranging from a misdemeanor property offense to a felony violent crime.
Criminal records can hold you back for life
Most members of the public, including companies that might employ you or landlords reviewing your application for a property, can access arrest and conviction records maintained by the state of California. It is common for even minor criminal record blemishes to limit someone’s future opportunities.
Even if the state offers you a plea deal involving a lesser offense, the record of your original charges will still be public, and others may assume that you were guilty of that more serious charge if you pleaded guilty to a reduced offense. Expungements are an option in some cases, but they will only apply to state records and not to the records maintained by private companies that provide security services and background checks.
Most defendants have several defense options
Your personal circumstances, the charges the state brought against you and the evidence prosecutors claim to have will all affect what defense strategies you choose to utilize in your case. From asserting an affirmative defense involving claims of self-defense to challenging the evidence gathered by the police, there are numerous ways that you could create a reasonable doubt that will prevent the court from convicting you.
Mounting an assertive defense when facing criminal charges in California can help you prove your innocence and protect your future.