Do Prosecutors Want to Go to Trial?
Benefits of Hiring a Former Prosecutor as Criminal Defense Attorney
One of the many benefits of working with The Clark Law Firm for your criminal defense or family law case is that you will get to work with a team who brings experience from a former prosecutor to the table. A prosecutor is an attorney who investigates or prosecutes criminal cases or who provides legal advice on a criminal matter to government lawyers, agents, or offices participating in the investigation or prosecution of criminal cases. This will be beneficial to your case because prosecutors need to exhibit the following qualities:
- Strong communication skills
- Enthusiasm for public service
- Charisma and a positive attitude
- Composure under pressure
There is also a specific set of knowledge that former prosecutors have that can benefit the defendant in a criminal case, including:
- Knowledge of the way criminal cases are investigated
Former prosecutors are familiar with the way the government investigates cases, what the government is looking for when investigating cases, and what they consider when filing cases.
- Knowledge of how prosecutors value a case
Former prosecutors also know how to value a case because of their experience doing so. This can give an additional level of insight into the important details of a case and can help produce the most favorable outcome for the client.
- Knowledge of how prosecutors are likely to negotiate a case
Because former prosecutors were once on the other side of the door, they know what points the prosecutor will be most likely to gravitate towards.
- Experience working with a wide range of criminal cases
Prosecutors are required to deal with a wide range of criminal cases, so clients can rest assured in knowing they have likely dealt with a case similar to the one they are going through. This level of experience and knowledge will certainly be put to good use.
- Experience presenting and examining evidence in trial
Former prosecutors tend to have experience trying criminal cases. A prosecutor is responsible for trying criminal cases on behalf of the government, so they have some of the most experience of trial attorneys.
- Experience writing and defending legal motions
Former prosecutors tend to have experience writing and arguing legal motions, and it is a major part of the job. When these individuals become criminal defense attorneys, it gives them the chance to utilize that experience.
What Is the Goal of a Prosecutor?
Pros and Cons of the Various Options in Criminal Cases
The goal of a prosecutor is to protect the innocent, convict the guilty, consider the interests of victims and witnesses, and respect the constitutional and legal rights of persons, including suspects and defendants. When it comes to the route by which a prosecutor can achieve this, it can vary from case to case. When it is time for a defendant to decide if they should plead guilty or go to trial, there are many factors to consider.
A criminal defense lawyer can walk a client through the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, before a trial, it is up to the defendant to decide whether to have a jury trial in which the jury decides if the defendant is guilty or a court trial, in which the judge decides. However, defendants in criminal cases have the right to have a jury of their peers determine their guilt or innocence. Alternatively, the criminal defendant can simply plead guilty. This might not seem ideal, but in some cases, it can be the best option. Some of the benefits of pleading guilty include:
- The ability to resolve the case more quickly
- Less expensive lawyer fees
- Possibility of receiving a lighter sentence or having charges reduced
- Avoiding the uncertainty of a trial in which a jury might have access to additional evidence to convict the defendant of even more severe crimes
Of course, there are disadvantages to pleading guilty as well, including the following:
- Receiving criminal punishments like potential jailtime and fines
- Having a criminal record that could follow the defendant for the rest of their life
- Automatically serving the statutory minimum sentence
- Possibility of the judge imposing a longer sentence than the one suggested by the prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer
If the defendant decides to take advantage of their right to a jury of their peers, they will be able to experience several advantages, including the following:
- More time for the defendant to prepare their defense
- More time for the defendant to spend time with friends and family before the possibility of going to jail
- Opportunity to prove the defendant’s innocence
- Benefits of the U.S. Constitution (presumed innocent during proceedings, giving the prosecutor the burden of proof of proving each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, with the opportunity to bring up wrongdoings like police misconduct that can help the defendant’s case)
- Possibility to receive a better plea bargain closer to the trial
Going to trial is not always the best option, though. Some of the disadvantages of going to trial include:
- Placing the outcome in the hands of the jury, who can be unpredictable
- Possibility of facing the maximum penalty of a crime
Why Would a Prosecutor Offer a Plea Deal?
A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or “no contest” in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop charges, reduce the charge to a less serious offense, Plea bargains are potentially a desirable outcome because the prosecutor agrees to reduce a defendant’s punishment. This often happens because judges and prosecutors are under pressure to resolve cases quickly. While a trial can last for weeks or months, a plea bargain can happen during a simple conversation. For this reason, judges are motivated to accept plea agreements because they help ease the caseload in crowded courtrooms.
If a defendant does not like a plea offer, that is one of the good reasons to go to trial. For example, a prosecutor could make a plea offer that would be better than an alternative sentence, but a defendant who is not guilty would not want to accept. There are many reasons to go to trial, and a criminal defense attorney can help make this decision.
If you need help navigating the potential outcomes of a criminal case, call The Clark Law Firm at (817) 435-4970 or contact us online.