If you have been unfortunate enough to be charged with a criminal offense, you are likely having to navigate the confusing world of the criminal justice system. For those that have never been through this process, there can be a steep learning curve, and if you are not well-informed about what to expect, the entire process can be bewildering. These issues are further complicated by the fact that many people make the mistake of falling for a couple of common myths when it comes to this part of the legal system.
Myth: Plea Bargains Are Guaranteed To Be Approved
In many instances, it is possible to avoid a trial by negotiating with the prosecutor. This is referred to a plea deal, and in exchange for pleading guilty to your lesser crimes, the prosecutor will often drop the other charges or agree to lenient sentencing.
Unfortunately, it should be noted that the mere offer of a plea deal does not ensure that the court will accept it. This stems from the fact that the judge will have final say over the terms of the deal. As a result, you should always assume that your case is still pending until the court has formally accepted the offer.
Myth: Appeals Always Result In New Trials
It is relatively common for individuals to receive a verdict that they do not agree with, and when this occurs, the only legal recourse is to file an appeal with a superior court. Sadly, there are many individuals that fail to understand the appeal process, and this may cause them to assume that they will be going through a new trial if the appeal is agreed to be reviewed by the court.
However, this is not the case, and the appeal will actually take place behind closed doors in most cases. Rather than having a full court proceeding, your attorney will file a brief that outlines the errors that were made by the lower court. While it is possible for an appeal court to require a new trial, there are many other corrective actions that can be taken, and you will have to consult with an attorney (such as one from Kaiser Law Group) to determine which outcomes are the most likely in your case.
Going through the criminal court system can be a somewhat confusing and frightening experience. However, you can help feel more in control of your situation by having a deeper understanding of what to expect during these proceedings. By understanding that plea deals do not have to be accepted by the court and that an appeal does not automatically mean a new trial, you can be better informed about what this process will be like for your case.