Possible Outcomes of a Criminal Case
If you are ever charged criminally, you will undoubtedly be anxious. Part of that anxiety stems from the curiosity of what could happen to you in the very near future. While every criminal case is certainly unique, there are certain possible outcomes that pertain to most cases. Read on to discover what could occur during or at the conclusion of a criminal case.
1. Charges Dropped
In some cases, police believe that they have the right person or that there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial. Police are human and make mistakes. When this occurs, you may find that the charges are dropped. The prosecutor has the right to drop charges for any number of reasons.
When charges are dropped, the case ceases to proceed. It doesn’t, however, mean that you always have a clear criminal record automatically. In some cases, you must petition for expungement to have your record erased of the dropped charges.
2. Plead Guilty/Plea Bargain
If you choose to plead guilty to the full crime(s) you have been charged with under the advice of your attorney, you will be sentenced. In most cases, your attorney and the prosecutor will have worked out a deal in exchange for your plea, and you will know what is going to happen next. The consequences for pleading guilty are typically lighter than the consequences of being found guilty in trial.
In other cases, your attorney and the prosecutor will work out a plea bargain. This is only slightly different than just pleading guilty; in these cases, you only plead guilty to lesser charges. For example, a felony robbery may be reduced to a misdemeanor. Just like when you enter a guilty plea, you will need to appear before a judge to be sentenced. The judge does not have to agree to the plea bargain, but it is only in rare cases that they go against the recommendations of the attorneys in the case.
3. Found Guilty at Trial
If you pursue your case and appear at a trial, you may be found guilty. If you are, you will appear at a sentencing hearing. The prosecutor may be asked to make a recommendation. The judge will consider the options available, your criminal record and other circumstances before handing down a sentence. If you are found guilty after a trial, it is generally too late for your attorney to work out any kind of plea bargain.
4. Not Guilty at Trial
You may go through a trial and be found not guilty. If this is the case, you will be released from custody and you will not be tried for the same case again. You may need to petition the court to have the charges expunged from your record.
Facing criminal charges is very serious. If you have been charged with a crime in Atlanta, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Call our team today to schedule a free consultation. We will review the details of your arrest and charges and advise you of your legal options. We are ready to mount a strong defense on your behalf and work to lessen the consequences of your alleged actions.