Think Before Pleading Guilty, Even in Misdemeanor Cases

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If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is a stressful time. Many people take the first option available, which may be pleading guilty and hoping for the best, or taking whatever the state prosecutor offers. It could be a big mistake to make your decision under stress. Let your attorney, who will have experience and a clear head, advise you.

In Reno recently, a young man tried to change his plea to misdemeanor charges, which was quickly rejected by the judge. The man, 27, was involved in a traffic accident in July. He struck another vehicle where another 27-year-old man was killed. He was arrested later and charged with not only vehicular manslaughter, but also with auto theft and armed robbery.

The young man originally pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offenses, and according to the assistant city attorney requested that he be given time in jail for all of the charges, including the manslaughter charge. He claims the man told him that he had been "drinking and doing drugs for a week straight leading up to his arrest."

The man's family, friends and fraternity brothers all came to court to support him when he appeared to face the misdemeanor charges. This is when he made a motion to change his plea to not guilty, and the judge rejected his motion. He was sentenced to 210 days in jail, with a 179-day suspension. He will still have to face the felony charges sometime in the future in a district court.

The young man may have made his plea in a time of distress, which is not the best time to make any decisions. Serious charges are not going to be over and done with rapidly. Court appearances take time, and you should wait to make any decisions until your attorney has had time to review your case and investigate all possible options.

Accused of a crime? Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. to discuss your options with a Reno criminal defense lawyer: (775) 227-2280.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, "Man sentenced for fatal July crash, still faces felony charges," Seth A. Richardson, Sep. 23, 2015

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