Do I Need an Attorney If I’m Guilty?

Legal paperwork

Many people don’t hire a good lawyer because they tell us “I did it so what can I do now?” Why should I spend the money on a good lawyer if I can’t win? The answer is A LOT! Depending upon the charges you face a good lawyer can get some charges reduced or even dropped in what is called “plea negotiations.” In other cases the sentencing range is vast and involves jail time. In these cases you want to increase your chances of probation, or home confinement, instead of a jail sentence. If there is a jail sentence to be served then you want the minimal time or to serve your sentence in the house of correction rather than a state prison. All these considerations come into play when you are choosing an attorney to represent you in any criminal matter.

In addition, your attorney can still argue for your case to be dismissed if there isn’t enough evidence, request evidence be suppressed if it was illegally obtained, and/or for your confession to be thrown out if the proper legal procedures weren’t followed. You could have your case dismissed even though there is enough evidence to convict you even though you committed the offense! That is often referred to as winning on a technicality, but it is in fact winning under the law.

What If I Confessed?

The Supreme Court has said it's “better for guilty people to go free from time to time if that's the price we're going to pay for innocent people not being convicted, because one innocent man unjustly convicted is much worse than one guilty man going free.”

We handle a lot of cases where people made incriminating statements to the police. Their statement may be as short as “Yes, it was me” to spending several hours outlining everything that happened. The first thing we look at is whether we can suppress your statements meaning get the court to throw out your statements so the prosecutor can’t use your statements at trial. For example, if you were in custody when you were questioned without being given your Miranda warnings, then we will file a motion with the court to suppress your statements. If the motion is allowed, sometimes the prosecutor will be forced to dismiss the case and other times, it gives us leverage in negotiating a plea. As a practical tip: whenever the police want to question you, you should assume it’s because they think you committed a crime. You have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney. Use it! Never make any statements to the police because they will be used against you later.

What If The Police Have A Search Warrant?

There are times when the police make a mistake during their application for the search warrant or during the search itself. Let’s say the police get a search warrant for your house. While searching your house, the police find drugs and you admit it belongs to you. The first thing we do is look at the search warrant. If the search warrant was invalid for any reason such as using an informant who was unreliable, the information was too old to be used or maybe they made a simple mistake like putting in the wrong apartment number. There are dozens of reasons a search warrant could be invalid. We can then file a motion to suppress the search itself. If the court agrees with us, then the prosecutor can’t use anything the police found during the search of your house. These can’t be used against you at trial including the drugs they found. In a majority of cases that means your case will be dismissed! Not only that, if your statements came after the police illegally searched your house then the judge will throw your statements out too! Even though you may have had illegal drugs in your home your case will be dismissed if this is the only evidence against you.

Can The Charges Be Reduced Or Dropped?

There are cases where a motion to dismiss or suppress are not successful. Some of these cases involve confessions and some don’t. We always have a conversation about whether it is better to enter a plea or to go to trial. In a lot of cases, a plea will provide the best outcome. The judge will always be more lenient when you plead to a crime then when you go to trial and are found guilty. Even if you want to enter a plea, it doesn’t mean you get the maximum punishment. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to negotiating pleas.

Some examples are as follows:

Possession with intent to distribute:

You are addicted to drugs yourself and were selling drugs to support your habit. The first thing we would help you do is get yourself into drug treatment. Then when it is time to plead your case out, the judge and prosecutor will be much more lenient and more likely to give you probation because you have recognized your addiction and sought treatment.

Possession of child pornography:

If convicted, you could you face up to 5 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in jail. That doesn’t mean you are going to jail though. Depending on the facts, we will recommend you see a sex offender therapist for treatment. Then when your case is resolved, we present to the court the therapist’s evaluation showing all the treatment you’ve under gone. These kinds of evaluations hold a lot of weight with judges and prosecutors and can help you avoid jail or a lengthy sentence.

Indecent assault and battery:

If the girl is under 14 years old, then you face up to 10 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in jail. If the girl is 14 years old or older, then you face up to 5 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in jail. Not only that but a conviction of Indecent Assault & Battery would require you to register as a sex offender. We have had success in cases like this negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to straight Assault & Battery and give the person probation. A plea to this charge means no sex offender registration and keeps the sex offense off your record. If any employer looked up your record, they would think you got into a bar fight.

Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs:

This charge often comes with associated charges such as Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Speeding and/or Marked Lanes Violations. If it’s not a first offense then there is jail time but the government still must prove the previous offense. We can fight that and attempt to keep it as a lesser offense. Even if you plead this case out you can still have these other charges dropped saving you big money on fines and increased automobile insurance with a good attorney.

In short almost every crime can be looked at with a knowledgeable attorney with an eye toward reducing the crime from a Felony to a Misdemeanor or a lesser offense or reducing the punishment and putting yourself in the best position to move forward with your life. That’s money well spent on your future.

We are here to help you! There are so many ways we can help you successfully resolve your case even if you committed the crime. We will do everything we can to get you the best possible outcome. Contact us at Sweeney & Associates, LLC today for a FREE consultation. We can be reached at (617) 300-0212 or

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