Together, Our Attorneys’ Combined Strengths Make Them a Formidable Defense Team for Clients Throughout Indiana

Together, Our Attorneys’ Combined Strengths Make Them a Formidable Defense Team for Clients Throughout Indiana

Only a tiny fraction of defendants take their cases to trial

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense

There are usually two main options for someone who has been accused of a crime in Indiana. Individuals may plead guilty after the state brings charges against them. Other times, criminal defendants assert their innocence and decide to take their cases to trial.

Despite how the media depicts criminal prosecution, taking a case to trial is actually relatively rare. According to research into state criminal cases, the vast majority of defendants eventually plead guilty to the charges that they face.

How many defendants go to trial?

In a review of recent criminal cases published in 2022, journalists found that only about 5% of criminal defendants in Indiana take their charges to trial. Approximately 19 out of 20 criminal defendants enter a guilty plea or negotiate a plea deal with a prosecutor.

There are many reasons for this trend. One of them is the tendency of prosecutors to overcharge people. Prosecutors may bring the most severe charges possible given the circumstances that led to someone’s arrest. In fact, they may try to bring multiple charges for a single criminal incident.

A defendant may feel so overwhelmed about the potential penalties that they convince themselves that they must plead guilty to avoid the worst-case scenario. Additionally, there is a misconception that those who plead guilty automatically receive a more lenient sentence or reduce their chances of jail time.

Unless someone enters into a very specific plea deal that limits the penalties the courts impose, those who plead guilty are at risk of a judge sentencing them to the most severe penalties possible. A plea deal does not automatically ensure lenient treatment from a judge. Additionally, even if someone avoids jail time, their guilty plea means that they have a criminal record that shows up whenever someone performs a background check on them.

There are many different ways for people to fight criminal charges at a trial. Sometimes, police officers may have broken the law or violated certain key rules during an investigation. Other times, someone may have a medical explanation or an alibi that could undermine their alleged connection to a criminal incident.

Going over the state’s evidence with an attorney before deciding how to respond to pending criminal charges might help people achieve the best outcome possible given the accusations they currently face.