I have spoke to hundreds of defendants who are frustrated with the plea bargain and threaten the court to “go to trial.” Most defendants don’t understand that, although judges are not supposed to punish defendants for exercising their trial right, they almost all certainly do. Think about it. If you are the judge in a busy courtroom and you believe the defendant to be guilty and also believe that the prosecutor is offering a fair plea bargain, would you not be mildly irritated by a 5 day jury trial? A plea bargain is designed to relieve a congested court system.
I tell my clients that they should go to trial if they are not guilty……and….if they can bear the consequences of losing….and the cost ($$) of trial….and the time away from their job. If the answer is yes, then the focus will be trial strategy.