A surprising number of people, even normally strong and professional people whom you wouldn't expect, are too quick to give up when they face charges in the legal system. They get overwhelmed. They don't want to think about it. They just wish it would go away. This is understandable. But this can be very hurtful in the long run.

I have talked to so many potential clients who are facing problems today because of a criminal conviction in the past that they could have easily beaten. But it is too late. They want some way of avoiding consequences today, but previously they agreed to a bad plea deal for charges they could have easily defeated with some time and effort. But once you plead guilty, most opportunities in the legal system are lost.

The time to fight is now. Soon it will be too late. Once a case is over, it's over. If you change your mind later and wish you had fought, then it is too late. Don't let anyone talk you into not fully defending yourself, unless they are willing to take your place in the jail cell or have the conviction on their record (which of course is impossible).

Pleading guilty might be tempting, to just make it all go away. But the trouble is, it really won't go away. A criminal conviction will haunt you for years to come. If you have a conviction on your record, it will follow you anywhere you go. It will always be with you. And, even worse, if you admit it by pleading guilty, everyone will know that you really did it. If you go trial and lose you can still say that they made a mistake. But if you admit it, you cannot soft-soak it or minimize it: You confessed.

  l  Criminal charges are not a "Do It Yourself" project. Prosecutors do this hundreds of times a week. You are a novice -- a babe in the woods.
  l  Any misdemeanor can result in up to 1 year in jail.
  l  You can lose your driver's license, maybe forever.
  l  It is estimated that a DWI conviction costs at least $20,000 in increased insurance costs, courses, fees, lost work, etc.
  l  For the rest of your life, a criminal conviction can be on your record.
  l  You may blocked from professional licenses or occupational permits even if you have only misdemeanor convictions.
  l  You may have to list such convictions on job applications.
  l  Your insurance rates will increase.
  l  Even if you bargain down the charges or penalty, you may still have a criminal conviction on your record.
  l  You are more likely to be pulled over by police in the future, more likely to be charged again, more likely to get a harsh penalty with any conviction on your record.