We pride ourselves on always getting great results for our clients, but like any lawyer, we don’t win every single case. We want our clients to expect to win but at least brace for the possibility that they will lose at trial. Oftentimes this leads to them asking us what will happen if they lose their case. We try to explain what to expect if you end up losing your criminal case in today’s blog.
Losing At Trial
People often ask us what will happen to them if they are convicted in court, and we’d love if we were able to give them a straight answer, but it’s much more complicated than that. That’s because criminal charges carry a range of potential sentences. Even misdemeanor charges carry the possibility of a fine up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail, so while it’s unlikely you’ll spend two months in jail for a misdemeanor theft charge, it’s certainly not out of the question.
Predicting what will happen in the event you lose at trial really revolves around two factors – The charges you are currently facing and your past criminal history. For example, if you are charged with a misdemeanor and have no previous criminal convictions outside a traffic citation a few years back, it’s very unlikely you’ll spend any time in jail. In most instances, you’ll face a fine of a couple hundred dollars and may have a few others conditions imposed, like probation or completion of a substance abuse course. There’s no guarantee, but most judges realize jail shouldn’t be imposed for non-violent, low-level offenders with a clean record.
Things get a little tougher to predict if you’ve been in trouble in the past. Let’s say you have a disorderly conduct and a DUI on your record, and you’re charged for a second DUI a couple years later. You are going to face some minimum sentences, which your lawyer can explain to you. With a second DUI charge, you will lose your driving privileges and be required to spend either 30 days in jail or a similar length of time performing community service. There’s also the possibility of increased fines, attendance of a victim impact panel, and the installation of a ignition interlock system.
We can’t cover every scenario on this blog, but you can stay informed about possible outcomes by asking your lawyer about mandatory minimums and their expectations should you be convicted. They can also cover the “worst case” outcomes should a judge decide to send a message with your sentence. This conversation also plays an important role in helping someone decide whether a plea deal is there best option. They say that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, so it may be in your best interest to consider pleading guilty to a lesser charge, knowing the sentencing structure and avoiding a worse outcome for your case. But again, we can cover all the benefits and drawbacks of this choice during a one on one session.
So while we can’t give you a concrete answer about what will happen if you lose, we can provide our best estimate and do everything in our power to get you the best outcome possible. For more information, or for help with your case, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today.