July 27, 2022 | Criminal Law
After your arrest, there are several steps that the court takes before your case goes to trial or you are allowed to accept a plea agreement. The process of your criminal case depends on whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Pleading not guilty means your case moves through the judicial process of going to trial.
Before your criminal trial, the court may hold several pre-trial hearings and conferences. A status conference or status hearing is standard in criminal cases in Cincinnati.
What Happens at a Status Conference in a Cincinnati Criminal Case?
During a status conference, the judge requests an update on the criminal case. The judge wants to know if the parties are ready to proceed to trial. If the parties are not ready, the judge wants an explanation for the delay.
Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor may discuss other issues. For example, they may discuss pre-trial motions, discovery, and a potential plea agreement. The judge may schedule another status conference in a few months for the parties to update the court on the case’s progress.
Should You Accept a Plea Agreement After a Status Hearing in Your Cincinnati Criminal Case?
Accepting a plea deal after a status conference has certain advantages. During the status hearing, your lawyer may receive additional information that allows them to better assess the state’s case against you. That information can help direct plea negotiations with the prosecution.
Also, the prosecution may re-evaluate its case after the status hearing. As a result, the prosecutor may be more willing to discuss pleading down the criminal charges and/or reducing the sentence for a guilty plea.
Advantages of accepting a plea bargain after a status hearing include:
- You may get out of jail sooner than you would if you take your case to trial
- You avoid going through a public trial
- The prosecutor may be willing to plead a felony offense down to a misdemeanor charge
- You know your sentence instead of taking a risk on going to trial and allowing the judge to decide the penalties
- Your family and friends do not need to worry about being called as witnesses at trial
- Accepting a plea deal may reduce the cost of defending criminal charges
- You can serve your sentence and get on with your life instead of dragging out the case for possibly a year or longer
There are risks to accepting a plea deal. For example, the judge might not be willing to go along with the prosecution’s recommendations for sentencing. Your attorney explains the pros and cons of entering a plea agreement to help you decide if a plea deal is the best way to resolve your criminal case.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Status Hearing in My Cincinnati Criminal Case?
The law does not force you to hire a criminal lawyer to defend you. If you cannot afford to hire a criminal defense lawyer, the court can appoint a public defender to represent you.
If you decide not to hire a lawyer or allow the court to appoint a public defender, you represent yourself as a “pro se” defendant. Pro se defendants are responsible for appearing at hearings, tracking court dates, gathering evidence, and arguing their case in court. They must also know and understand court rules, procedures, and laws to defend themselves.
You have the legal right to consult with and be represented by legal counsel when facing criminal charges. A conviction could result in significant prison sentences, fines, and other penalties. Because your freedom and future are at stake, it is in your best interest to talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me With Cincinnati Criminal Charges?
There are numerous ways that a defense attorney helps clients charged with various criminal offenses. The advantages of hiring a criminal lawyer include:
- The lawyer explains the criminal charges to you and discusses your legal rights and defense options
- Lawyers perform independent investigations into the criminal charges to gather evidence and determine if your civil rights were violated, such as a lack of probable cause for an arrest
- An attorney reviews the state’s evidence against you to determine weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
- Defense lawyers understand how to use various legal arguments to have evidence thrown out and charges dismissed
- Lawyers understand the criminal justice system and walk you through each phase of a criminal case
- Your attorney develops the best defense strategy based on the facts of your case
- A criminal lawyer can effectively negotiate a fair plea agreement
You are innocent until proven guilty. You need a criminal defense attorney whether you are innocent or guilty.
Criminal defense lawyers force the state to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you do not have a lawyer, the state could take shortcuts that an attorney would catch but that you might not recognize. The result could be a wrongful conviction.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202