We possess many rights in the United States. For example, we possess the right to an attorney; the right to a jury trial; the right to confront and cross examine witnesses; and the right to remain silent. We also have a Right to be proven Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and we are presumed innocent of all crimes until we give up this right or are found guilty.
Even if “you” think you are guilty, when you enter a plea of Not Guilty, you are in no way shape or form lying to the court. You are simply choosing not to give up your rights at the moment. The Judge will not be angry with you for pleading Not Guilty. In fact, some Judges will treat you more harshly for giving up your rights so quickly – as if you were not treating the matter seriously and just wanted to get it over with.
Also, you may feel guilty right now simply because you were “charged” with a crime. But, keep in mind, criminal charges are filed upon mere probable cause that a crime was committed. Probable Cause is a far cry from proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, with respect to degrees of proof, probable cause and proof beyond a reasonable doubt are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Further, what may seem like a open and shut case to a non-lawyer could very well be very strong case for the defense. Evidentiary issues arise; mistakes are made; constitutional rights are violated; regulations are not followed; instruments fail to work properly; witnesses fail to show; inculpatory evidence gets excluded; exculpatory evidence is discovered; affirmative defenses are available; and at the end, there simply may not be enough evidence to overcome the presumption of innocence and reach the level of proof required to find a person guilty of a crime.
We cannot (and will not) guarantee that if you plead Not Guilty at arraignment things will get better. But, people who hire skilled, knowledgeable attorneys, who actually work hard for their clients, do often end up in a far better position than they would if they give up their rights and plead guilty at arraignment.
Considering the consequences of a criminal conviction, you at least owe it to yourself to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. Remember, our criminal defense lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you really have nothing to do lose.