Pleading Guilty to Federal Charges

 Posted on February 22, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerMost defendants plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. A plea bargain is negotiated between a defense attorney and prosecutor, requiring judge approval. In a plea agreement, the defendant will plead guilty to a crime in exchange for certain charges being dropped or to a lesser charge.

Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel would like to provide an overview of federal plea bargaining and how our Chicago federal criminal lawyer can assist you in the process.

What is a Plea Bargain?

If the government has sufficient evidence to implicate the defendant, a federal prosecutor may offer the defendant a plea bargain. The defendant is only allowed to plead guilty if he or she committed the crime.

When both sides come to an agreement on a plea deal, there will be no trial, but rather, the defendant will proceed directly to sentencing. Even if the defense counsel and prosecutor can come to an agreement on terms, the judge still has full control over sentencing. The prosecutor may recommend a more lenient sentence, but the judge can impose whatever sentence he believes to be appropriate.

Rule 11 

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure stipulate the plea bargain process. Under Rule 11, the court cannot accept a defendant’s plea until the defendant has been informed of the following:

  • Type of charge
  • Possible penalties
  • Sentencing guidelines
  • Possible victim compensation
  • The right to defense representation
  • The right to enter a plea of not guilty
  • The right to a jury trial
  • The right to question witnesses at a jury trial
  • The right against self-incrimination

The outcome of a trial is never guaranteed, while there is some level of certainty with a plea bargain. Understandably, taking a plea deal is often a more desirable option than taking your chances with a jury.

Guilty Plea versus Nolo Contendere Plea

Technically, a defendant can enter a plea of nolo contendere, which translates to “I do not wish to contend.” Unlike a guilty plea, a nolo contendere (no contest) plea does protect the defendant. By not pleading guilty, the defendant cannot have the plea entered into evidence in a future civil proceeding.

Keep in mind that a “no contest” plea is treated virtually the same as a guilty plea. You will face the same sentencing as a guilty plea, and you will have the conviction on your record.

The Benefits of Hiring a Federal Defense Lawyer

There are seven federal agencies that target federal offenses. For instance, if you are facing allegations of drug trafficking, the Department of Homeland Security, DEA, and FBI will investigate you.

The Department of Homeland Security alone has over 8,700 employees. Along with a large workforce, these agencies have the financial resources to perform a thorough investigation into the matter.

The government will leave no stone unturned in investigating your alleged crime. That is why you need a Chicago federal criminal lawyer working for you. Our federal criminal lawyer understands federal court procedures and will be able to advise you every step of the way.

Charged with a Federal Crime? Contact a Chicago, IL, Federal Criminal Lawyer 

With severe sentencing guidelines for federal crimes, you want experienced representation. If you have been arrested or charged with a federal crime, our Chicago, IL, federal criminal lawyer wants to hear from you. Contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation.

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