Theft can sometimes carry extreme penalties. Apart from a fine, felony theft cases can also involve jail time. It is important to be aware of the different pleas in theft cases that an accused individual has the option of declaring, as different pleas constitute different trial procedures. In order to determine the correct plea to declare at your particular case, it is important to contact an attorney. Only an experienced lawyer can assist in providing you with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about your specific case.
In DC, there are three different pleas in theft cases: a plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty, and an Alford Plea. With an Alford Plea, the person accepts responsibility but is not in a position to be able to affirmatively acknowledge and agree that they committed a specific act. Usually, they were too intoxicated or under the influence of something, and have no memory of the act. Apart from this, the basic pleas in theft cases are guilty and not guilty.
At an arraignment, it is presumed that the plea in a theft case is not guilty. In every case, the court recognizes that a person should have an attorney to analyze their case, give proper advice to the person, negotiate with the government, and determine the best course of action rather than pleading guilty on the first day. A plea of not guilty in a theft case means that the person does not agree that they are guilty. The person always has the right to change their plea later to a plea of guilty if, after consultation with their attorney and going through the proper work in the case, it is determined that pleading guilty to one or more of the charges or perhaps reduced charges is the best course of action. That usually involves a lot of negotiation and analysis in the case.
In a theft case, a plea of guilty means that the person acknowledges that they committed the crime or crimes that they have been charged with, and accept responsibility. At that point, the court sentences the individual to an appropriate punishment by the court.
When deciding whether to take a plea bargain, a person should expect a lengthy and very informative discussion with their attorney about the evidence against and for them, the risks of losing a trial, and the chances of winning a trial. The attorney advises the individual about what to expect with regards to the proceedings at trial, such as the cost and length of time of the case. The attorney helps the individual weigh all of that information against the best plea offer they are able to obtain from the government in a specific theft case. They discuss the ramifications and compare the courses of action to help the accused individual make the best decision about whether to take or reject the plea offer.
During the course of client representation, an attorney often has many conversations with family and friends, and with any and all witnesses of the person. Part of the process of defending an individual involves making sure that the ramifications of their criminal case upon them are minimized as best as possible. That very often involves communicating with family members about what is going on in the case, what to expect, and what could be happening to the accused individual.
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