When you’re accused of a crime, at some point you’ll be brought in front of a Judge to make your plea.
You don’t want to lie to the Judge, so you plan to plead Guilty. What you do not realize is that you’re about to make a mistake that you’ll regret for years because you’re actually Not Guilty.
What Does “Not Guilty” Mean?
Contrary to what some TV personalities preach, pleading Not Guilty does NOT mean, “I didn’t do it.” Heck, it doesn’t even mean, “I’m Innocent.” Not Guilty simply means:
“I want a chance to see the evidence against me before making a decision.” and/or
“The Government has the burden, and I’m not doing their job for them.” and/or
“I am presumed innocent and I’m not going to volunteer to be guilty.”
How Are You Presumed Innocent?
If you’ve watched Cops, you’ve heard the narrator say that “all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
Well the problem with that is when you say until, then you presume that they will be proven guilty in a court of law at some point. Well that’s just not how it works.
According to Texas Criminal Law, all persons are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. At this stage of the proceeding, the State has merely pointed a finger at you and accused you of a crime and hasn’t presented ANY evidence against you, much less proved any guilt.
Will Pleading Not Guilty Get You More Punishment?
Absolutely not! This might seem rude, but it is downright dumb to plead Guilty at your arraignment because you throw yourself at the mercy of a Court that you don’t understand.
This might seems surprising, but THE JUDGE DOES NOT WANT YOU TO PLEAD GUILTY AT YOUR ARRAIGNMENT! I hate using all-caps, but it is that important. The Judge will likely even tell you that it is a good idea to consult with an attorney first and highly recommend against pleading Guilty at your arraignment.
It’s like going to the Judge and saying, “I did it, I need to be punished, please punish me!” If I hadn’t seen this happen with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it; but trust me, pleading Guilty at your arraignment is the fastest way to get the maximum sentence.
In case none of the above is sinking in, or perhaps you want CliffsNotes for your upcoming arraignment, here it is in a nutshell.
Plead Not Guilty + Consult with your Attorney = Protect your Rights
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Criminal Defense Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479