Should I Plead “Guilty” or “NOT Guilty” to My Criminal Charges?
We Advise that You Plead "NOT Guilty" to Your Charges
Shortly after an arrest, your first court date, called an arraignment, will be scheduled. An arraignment is the first court hearing where you will be formally advised of your rights and the charges against you, as well as asked to enter a plea. At your first court date, your only viable choices are to plead “guilty,” or “NOT guilty" to the judge for each of your charges. Even if you feel you are guilty, definitely plead "NOT guilty" to all of your charges.
When facing criminal charges, you must decide whether you need a lawyer and whether you should plead "guilty" or "NOT guilty." At Norwood & Norwood, P.A., our advice is to hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible! If you hire our law firm, we will enter a NOT guilty plea for you at your arraignment and you will probably not have to go to court, unless it is a felony.
What Happens If I Plead Guilty?
If you were to plead “guilty" to the judge without a lawyer, the judge will sentence you on every charge to whatever the judge wants within the minimum and maximum sentence provided by law. On most criminal charges and some traffic charges, the judge can put you in jail, or if it is a felony, in prison! We strongly advise that you plead "NOT guilty" because you may leave the courtroom in handcuffs. It happens all the time. Remember, most of our clients never go to jail.
Some people worry that if they plead “not guilty,” when they feel they are really guilty, that it could hurt them later. Please do not worry. The criminal justice system is designed for you to plead “not guilty.” This is the case because in America you are considered innocent until the prosecutor can prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
First, this allows Norwood & Norwood, P.A.—if you hire us as your attorneys—to examine all of the evidence. We look to see whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to prove you guilty and we look to see if the police got that evidence lawfully without making errors. In other words, we search for a way to win. You would be shocked at how many cases we win, even when our client is technically guilty, because the police do not do their job properly.
Next, the system is designed for us to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the best possible plea bargain (sentence) for you. We have negotiated many thousands of dismissals for our clients’ charges. The prosecutor negotiates so that the state will be spared the time and expense of a trial.
Our firm has defended well-over 35,000 criminal cases. Our NWA criminal defense team uses that experience—and problems we find with the prosecutor’s evidence—to work toward the most favorable outcomes for our clients. Those may include winning your case, getting dismissal of charges, keeping you out of jail, keeping charges off your record, keeping fines low, etc.
Our Criminal Defense Team is Ready to Fight for You Today!
The consequences of conviction can be costly. You potentially face jail/prison time, fines, court costs, loss of gun rights, loss of voting rights, being kicked out of your apartment, the loss of your job and many other potential "hidden" costs. Our firm has either won or negotiated dismissals for many thousands of charges for our clients and most of our clients never go to jail. We have proven many thousands of times that, just because you have been charged with a crime, doesn’t mean you will be convicted of that crime. Let us see if we can do that for you!
Call (479) 235-4600 today and request a free office visit. We have offices in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers or Springdale.
Nearly 100 Years of Combined Experience
More than 25,000 Charges Won or Dismissed
Highly Respected by Peers, Judges and Clients
Former Prosecutors Who Understand Both Sides of the Law
Affordable Payment Plans
Your First Visit is Absolutely Free
Attorney Doug Norwood has over 30 years of experience helping clients throughout Northwest Arkansas. He and his team can review your case and determine your available legal options to help you avoid serious criminal penalties.