June 28, 2022 | Criminal Law
After an arrest, there are many steps in the criminal process. If you plead not guilty, your case proceeds toward a criminal trial. However, the court may hold one or more status hearings before a trial.
A status hearing or status conference is an opportunity for the court and the parties to check the status of the case. The prosecutor, defendant, criminal defense lawyer, and judge attend the status hearing. A status conference allows the lawyers to move closer to resolving the case.
The prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney may discuss several issues, such as discovery, terms of a potential plea agreement, and pre-trial motions. If the case cannot be resolved, the court might schedule the case for a trial or another status hearing.
Should You Accept a Plea Deal After Status Conference?
The status conference can be an excellent opportunity for your lawyer to assess the prosecutor’s willingness to enter a plea agreement. A plea deal requires you to plead guilty to the crime. However, the prosecutor agrees to drop charges, reduce charges, and/or reduce penalties for your guilty plea.
Some advantages of accepting a plea deal after a status hearing include:
- You might get out of jail now instead of waiting to go to trial
- The prosecutor may recommend much less severe penalties than you could receive after a trial
- You know your sentence instead of leaving it up to jurors and a judge to decide your fate
- You could save money by accepting a plea agreement by avoiding additional attorneys’ fees and costs
- You avoid going through a public trial
- You could avoid a felony conviction by pleading charges down to a misdemeanor
- You save your family and friends the stress of being called as witnesses during your trial
An experienced criminal defense lawyer helps you decide whether to accept a plea agreement. Your attorney discusses the pros and cons of the plea deal versus going to trial. Your attorney also gives you an honest assessment of your chance of winning at trial.
Entering a plea deal means you can serve your sentence and focus on getting back to your life. It could take months or more than a year for your case to go to trial. If you were not granted bail or could not afford bail, you spend that entire time in jail.
What Happens if You Do Not Have a Criminal Defense Lawyer at a Status Hearing?
If you do not hire a defense attorney and refuse a court-appointed attorney, you represent yourself in the criminal case. The term for representing yourself is “pro se.”
Representing yourself in your criminal case means you are responsible for tracking court dates and appearing at all hearings. You are also responsible for your defense. Therefore, you need to research court procedures, rules, and applicable laws in your case.
You have the right to legal counsel when faced with criminal charges. Because a conviction could result in significant jail time, fines, and other penalties, it is in your best interest to talk with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me With My Case?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney has numerous advantages over representing yourself or using a public defender. The benefits of hiring a criminal lawyer include:
- The attorney explains the criminal charges against you, your legal rights, and options for resolving the case
- A lawyer conducts an independent investigation into the charges against you
- A defense attorney reviews the state’s evidence and the circumstances of your arrest
- Your lawyer files motions to suppress evidence if law enforcement officers violated your civil rights
- Attorneys understand the criminal process and the purpose of court hearings, including status hearings
- An experienced Dayton criminal defense lawyer has extensive experience researching laws, gathering evidence, and interviewing witnesses
- Your attorney develops a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of a dismissal or acquittal
- A defense lawyer reviews the terms of a plea agreement to determine if it is fair
You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the prosecutor already believes you are guilty. Therefore, the police officers and the prosecutor are not trusted sources of legal advice.
Instead, it is best not to talk to them without an attorney present. The best step is to remain silent until you can talk to a Dayton criminal defense lawyer about your case.
Even though you do not have a burden to prove your innocence, presenting a robust and compelling defense to the criminal charges is the best way to avoid going to jail. Challenging the state’s evidence and presenting evidence of your own gives you the best chance of winning your case.
Contact the Dayton Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402