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Should I Still Hire an Attorney if I Think I’m Guilty? 

Venessa Bornost , P.A. April 5, 2023

It’s an undeniably stressful experience to be facing criminal charges, no matter what you think your level of guilt or innocence is. However, many people falsely believe that they won’t need the help of a criminal defense attorney if they’re guilty. The truth is that any charges are worth fighting because the consequences of a guilty plea can vary so much depending on the specifics of your situation. 

If you’re in the Dunedin, Florida area and would like to speak with a criminal defense attorney about your situation, reach out to me, Venessa Bornost, P.A. No matter where you live throughout the area, including Hillsborough County and Pasco County, I’m committed to providing the best legal defense for all my clients—guilty, innocent, or anywhere in between. 

Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea  

A guilty plea in court doesn’t always correlate to a predetermined, rigid punishment. In many cases, the judge has leeway within the law about the type of sentence they hand down. This can be dramatically influenced by a skilled legal defense team. Still, it’s important to be familiar with the range of consequences you may be facing if you’re convicted. 

The most obvious consequence (and the one that’s often the most dreaded) is serving time in jail. Even if jail time is unavoidable, your defense team may be able to argue for a shorter sentence or a sentence that includes probation. In some cases, you may be sentenced to only probation. In most of these instances, if you successfully meet the terms of your probation (which could include checking in with your probation officer regularly and avoiding any other run-ins with the law), you can successfully avoid jail time. Fines are another common consequence of a criminal conviction and these are often imposed in addition to another punishment. The type of crime you’re convicted of can also affect the consequences you face. For example, if you’re found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), your driver license will likely be suspended or revoked.  

Other punishments can include employment consequences such as the loss of a professional license, the inability to carry or purchase a firearm, being deported if you don’t have current documentation, or the loss of visitation or custody of minor children. These punishments will likely also come with other outcomes such as damage to personal and familial relationships.  

Reasons to Hire an Attorney Even if You Think You Are Guilty 

If you’ve been arrested and have found yourself questioning, “Should I still hire an attorney if I think I’m guilty?” the answer is a definite yes. You will still need to move through the various stages of the criminal justice system, which can be quite complex. When you have a qualified and sympathetic partner working on your side, you increase your chances of a more favorable outcome. Your lawyer can advise you of your options at every step and ensure you completely understand what’s happening and what you can expect.  

In any criminal trial, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution and it’s their responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of charges against you. This is a high bar to pass (as it should be) and your attorney will work to question and discredit the prosecution’s argument. They will also make sure that proper procedures are followed and that you have a fair trial. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll work outside of the courtroom, developing key strategies to negotiate a plea bargain. This may help you explore alternatives to jail (such as a treatment or rehabilitation program) that may lessen the punishment. Finally, even if you’re guilty, a good lawyer will ensure the punishment fits the crime and that you don’t see a harsher penalty than necessary. 

Communicating With Your Defense Attorney  

When working with your defense attorney, there are a few things you’ll always need to keep in mind. The first is to always answer their questions truthfully. There is no reason to ever lie to your legal team. Remember, their job is to defend you and make sure your rights continue to be protected and defended under all circumstances. They can only do this if they know the truth. They are not there to judge you or your actions. Trust your attorney to guide you as to what they want to know and build a defense that’s unique to your specific case and needs. No two clients will have the same needs and a skilled attorney should give you personalized, individual attention.  

Here for You No Matter What  

As a criminal defense attorney with a background in law enforcement, I truly believe everyone deserves to be protected under the law, even if they committed a crime. If you’re in the Dunedin, Florida region and would like to learn more about my practice and start working on your defense, call me, Venessa Bornost, P.A., today.