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When should MD suspects waive their criminal defense?


A recent Upper Marlboro trial of the suspect accused of killing a high school student has gotten people talking about when a suspect should go to trial. While many people assume that criminal trials are common for any crime, in fact, most criminal charges are resolved without a jury. This can occur under a variety of circumstances.

First, criminal charges may be dismissed by an order of the Court for a variety of reasons, such as improper conduct by police or a lack of evidence. In addition, a criminal case may be resolved by a plea negotiation with the prosecution. In both scenarios a jury trial is avoided. Making this critical criminal defense strategy decision, however, is not so simple.

As most people know, criminal charges carry a wide array of potential penalties. It is not a cliché to state that a crime could carry anywhere from five to 50 years in prison. Given the exposure to serious penalties, it can sometime be advantageous for a suspect to negotiate a less severe penalty. On the other hand, unmeritorious charges or unfair penalties should never be admitted or accepted voluntarily. If the prosecution does not offer a fair deal, a jury trial may be necessary. This too, though, carries significant risks as juries have been known to miss important facts and come to incorrect conclusions.

As a result of these complexities, suspects in Upper Marlboro are encouraged to contact a local criminal defense attorney to help evaluate the decision. Only these experts can analyze the specific facts of each case, and determine the best way to approach an accused's defense.

Source: WUSA9, "Opening argument to begin in Ross murder trial," Aug. 4, 2014

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