Potential Outcomes for a Criminal Trial

Categories: Criminal Defense

gavel in criminal trial

A criminal case can cover a variety of offenses, which means the possible outcome of a case might vary significantly. Also, no magic tool will determine how one person’s situation might turn out because each case is unique.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help better predict how your case might complete itself. While you wait for your consultation, you can review some of the potential outcomes of a criminal court case and what you might expect in the future.

Common Outcomes for Criminal Cases in Montrose, CO

If you are curious how your case might end, here are a few common outcomes seen from trials in the area.

The Prosecution Drops the Charges

Sometimes, the prosecution will drop the case, and it never makes it to trial. The prosecutor might choose to drop for a variety of reasons, including special requests from the victim, lack of evidence, a witness refusing to participate, or inadmissible evidence.

If charges are dropped, you will not be convicted of the crime. However, those charges do not disappear. The prosecution still has the right to re-file down the road if they get enough evidence or find witnesses. Also, the charges and arrest record are still in your file; therefore, your attorney must file to have them removed from your record.

You Plead Guilty to the Charges

Sometimes, a defendant might plead guilty in front of a judge. Never plead guilty unless it is under the advice of an attorney, and your attorney has worked out a plea arrangement with the prosecution.

Typically, the judge requires that you plead guilty in court so that it becomes part of the court record. You may have to testify under oath to confirm your guilty plea, which means admitting to the acts you are being charged with, ensuring the judge you know the charges, and understanding the consequences of pleading guilty. Also, you must confirm that you waive your right to a trial by a jury of your peers.

Once you plead guilty, you are responsible for the crime and the sentence assigned to you. You might face jail time, probation, or another sentencing alternative.

Taking a Plea Bargain

In a plea bargain, you have agreed to take a particular sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Your attorney works with the prosecution to either agree to a lesser charge or lesser sentencing, and the plea deal is made a matter of public record. The bargain requires a verbal agreement, and you must attend a hearing in front of a judge where you agree to plead guilty, agree to the terms of the deal, and understand that you are waiving your right to a trial by a jury.

Found Guilty at Trial

If your case goes to the jury, the jury will decide if you are innocent or guilty. To find you guilty, they must do so beyond a reasonable doubt.

A guilty verdict is not the end of your case. Instead, you will receive a sentencing date. At sentencing, you will stand in front of a judge, and the judge will give out the sentence based on the state guidelines, the nature of your crime, your past crimes, and other factors – including victim testimony. You then receive a sentence that can range from jail time to prison sentence to probation or even community service.
You can appeal your guilty verdict as well, and your attorney will determine if you have grounds for an appeal.

If you do file an appeal, you will go through a series of arguments in front of an appellate court, trying to overturn the verdict and receive a new trial.

Found Not Guilty at Trial

If the case goes to the jury and the jury finds you “not guilty,” that means you will be released from custody. Also, you do not have to worry about the prosecution filing charges against you later, because you have been cleared of the alleged crime and double jeopardy would apply.

In some instances, but not all, you may be able to have the charges expunged from your record.

A Mistrial Occurs

A mistrial means that the trail cannot be completed. Mistrials happen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Juror misconduct
  • The Jury cannot reach or agree on a verdict
  • Courtroom errors occurred

The prosecution or the defense can request a mistrial, and the judge will either grant or deny the request. In some instances, the prosecutor can refile charges, but only if it does not put you in double jeopardy.

How to Get the Best Possible Outcome in a Criminal Case

If you have been arrested, naturally you want the best outcome possible in your case. There are things you can do to increase the chances of a positive result, including:

  • Know Your Rights – You have the right to remain silent, and you can exercise that right when being questioned by law enforcement. Even if you are under arrest, you can stay silent and request an attorney.
  • Do Not Allow Police to Search without a Warrant – Law enforcement may show to your home and intimidate you into allowing them inside to look around. Know that without a warrant, law enforcement does not have the right to enter unless you grant them the right. Therefore, request that they return with a search warrant and contact your attorney right away.
  • Do Not Bargain without an Attorney – Prosecutors might offer what seems like a great bargain, but if you do not have an attorney present, do not accept any plea deal. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a better deal with fewer years in jail or even have the charges dropped to a lesser offense.

Find a Criminal Attorney in Your Area Today

When facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney provides you with advice and can help you go through the process of arraignments, plea bargains, jury trials, and sentencing.

For your case, contact attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. at 970-704-0888 or request a free case evaluation online.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.