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Does It Pay to Go to Trial in a Criminal Case in the State of Ohio?

Does It Pay to Go to Trial in a Criminal Case in the State of Ohio?
January 5, 2020 Shannon Dawes

A recent study released by the Pew Research Center looked judicial statistics covering 80,000 federal cases and found that the vast majority of criminal defendants – approximately 90 percent – did not take their criminal case to trial but instead entered some sort of plea in order to resolve their cases. The study also found that only two percent of defendants (about 1,600 people) took their case to trial before a judge or jury, and the majority of individuals who did were found guilty of the crimes with which they were charged.

Limitations and Implications of the Study 

It should be remembered that Pew’s study looked only at people in the federal court system who were charged with federal crimes. Federal crimes are (as you might expect) are those acts criminalized by a federal statute, are typically prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys, are defended by Federal Public Defenders, and are heard in federal district courts.

Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center’s study’s findings are not out of line with the general experience of criminal defense attorneys in Ohio: that the vast majority of criminal cases filed in the local state courts will be resolved through a plea agreement and only a small percentage of cases will proceed to trial. Each local jurisdiction is different when it comes to the likelihood of conviction: some counties’ juries may be predisposed to convict defendants while other counties have juries that are more hesitant to convict.

Questions to Ask Your Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

When you retain an Ohio criminal defense attorney to help you in your case, you still have the ultimate right to decide whether you want to accept a plea deal or go to trial (and, if you go to trial, you have the right to decide whether you want a jury or a judge to hear your case). In order to make a fully informed decision, talk with your attorney about:

  • The nature of the charges filed against you and the possible penalties you may face if you are convicted;
  • Any plea offers that have been made by the prosecution or what sort of plea offers might be made, based on previous experience;
  • The benefits and drawbacks of accepting a plea agreement;
  • The strength and weaknesses of the evidence the prosecution is likely to use, and the strength and weaknesses of any evidence that may be available for use in defense; and/or
  • The likelihood of conviction at trial based upon the practices and history of the judges and/or juries in the area.

The answers to these questions will help you understand the risks and potential rewards of taking a plea agreement over taking a case to trial. The sooner you have this conversation with your criminal defense attorney, the quicker you may be able to resolve your case (and the less your looming case may impact your life).

What Does Dawes Legal, LLC Do to Help Ohio Criminal Defendants

Dawes Legal, LLC looks to help criminal defendants resolve their criminal cases both quickly and successfully. For some, “success” means an acquittal at trial. For others, “success” is a prompt plea deal that has a minimal impact on the client’s life and affairs. Whatever your goal might be, Dawes Legal, LLC will devote its full efforts and resources to helping you achieve that desired outcome. The process begins by sitting down with us, discussing the facts of your case with us, and having a conversation about outcome(s) you would desire and what outcomes are possible in your case. Call Dawes Legal, LLC at (614) 733-9999 to schedule your initial meeting with us.