If you have arrived at this question after asking yourself "Will I go to jail" you need to know that there is hope.
For most people, this is the scariest question. The good news is that for most people, the answer is no. If you are facing a misdemeanor or a non violent felony and you don’t have a long criminal record, you likely will not go to jail. However, there is always that risk. Also, because your final sentence is up the judge, there are no guarantees. You should never be under the false impression that you have no defense and should just confess without an attorney. You should never give a statements or information to law enforcement without first speaking to an attorney. The criminal procedure world is filled with complex procedure and nuisances that could impact you for the rest of you life. It is imperative that you educate yourself with the most criminal procedure and law you possible can and get the best quality legal advice and representation.
Also, most first time offenders are offered deals that sound really enticing (no jail time and the worry is over). These are called suspended or deferred sentences. They sound really good, but the long term risks are very substantial. For instance, if one little requirement is not met (not paying fees on time, late checking in with probation officer, or getting charged with another crime) the the state will move to revoke that sentence and you could then be placed in jail for the remainder of the term. Before you take a plea deal, please speak with a criminal defense attorney that will take the time to discuss your case and educate you on the pitfalls, risks, and benefits of suspended and deferred sentences.
Lastly, if you are in a situation where you see no hope in your defense, you might be very surprised as what can be done for your case. Criminal law, procedure and rules of evidence are very complex and the state must prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt and the verdict must be unanimous. That presents an incredible burden for the state (even with the high levels of juror biased and the common perception of "guilty until proven innocent") there are many many cases that receive not-guilty jury verdicts - so don't give up hope and get your self the right criminal defense attorney for you and your case.
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