image003People who have been caught “red-handed” in the commission of a felony in Ohio often just want to get the entire thing over and do not want to hire an attorney, believing that because they are so obviously guilty, there is nothing to do but plead guilty or no contest. This is a major mistake.

Attorneys provide value to all criminal defendants, even those that feel there is no point in fighting anything. Because prosecutors know that the average layman will not go to trial and make the prosecutor actually work to prove the defendants guilt, the prosecutors will not offer any reduction in charges (or drop some of the charges altogether), nor will they agree to stipulate to a certain sentence in exchange for pleading guilty. In other words, prosecutor have no incentive to enter into plea bargain discussions with a layman. An attorney on the other hand can threaten trial, which in practical terms, means A LOT OF WORK for the prosecutor and this provides a strong incentive for the prosecutor to work with the defense counsel in reaching some agreement that is much more beneficial for the defendant.

Furthermore, without benefit of counsel, defendants that are eligible for Diversion or “intervention in lieu of conviction” programs will not file the appropriate motions and therefore, these defendants are never considered for these programs. These programs are the best result that a criminal defendant can have short of an acquittal, because if accepted to either one, a defendant can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

The bottom line is that if you have been charged with a felony in Ohio, you need to retain counsel, or ask the court to appoint you counsel because the results are almost guaranteed to be better than if you merely plead guilty. Even if you are obviously guilty, there are benefits to having representation.