Plea Bargaining in DC Federal Child Pornography Cases
There are a variety of factors that go into structuring the resolution of a federal child pornography case. Among these resolutions is a plea bargain which most often refers to pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Yet while this type of bargain might be preferable in certain cases, in other cases it may be a bad idea or not be an option at all.
For this reason, it is important to consult with a DC federal child pornography lawyer to ensure you are getting the best result possible for your case.
Resolving Cases Through Plea Bargaining
Aggressively representing somebody, aggressively investigating the case, seeking discovery, and investigating the digital or computer forensic aspects of the case is the best way to achieve the best resolution possible, whether it is through trial or through resolution without a trial.
That being said, there is no typical resolution of a child pornography case. Therefore what an attorney will try to do is get the best resolution offer possible under the circumstances to present to the client. That does not mean the client has to accept that resolution. It just means that it exists as the best possible option. Based on the lawyer’s experience, they can make recommendations as to whether a proposed resolution is something worth accepting or not, and often the resolutions proposed by the government are not worth accepting.
It is a very involved process to come to an agreement on a resolution which does not involve a trial. There are somewhat typical factors involved regarding the sentencing guidelines which often have to be negotiated. If they cannot be negotiated, then we know we have to fight those out at a sentencing hearing.
Preliminary Steps of a Plea Bargain
Before the indictment or the official charge, a defense attorney will often try to make an initial effort to obtain discovery or information about the case. Although the prosecutor does not have to provide this evidence before the case is officially charged by indictment, they often do because they are trying to explore whether the case can be settled or a guilty plea obtained.
As a defense attorney this information can be used to evaluate the case before it is officially charged, and then the best course of action can be established with the help of the client. This means that it can be decided at that point if it may be a better option to take the offense to trial or negotiate a plea after the particulars of a resolution are worked out in writing.
If the case is not going to proceed to a guilty plea, then what an attorney will want to do is investigate and prepare for trial before a jury or judge. That involves getting the discovery during the investigation. At the point that the case is officially charged, a plea of not guilty is entered and the case proceeds to trial.
Importance of An Attorney When Negotiating a Plea
It is very rare for someone to successfully negotiate a plea deal without the help of an attorney. In fact, in many cases, a judge may not even allow someone charged with federal child pornography to represent themselves, due to the fact that statements made in furtherance of a plea bargain or in contemplation of a plea bargain are not admissible in court. Therefore it would be almost suicidal for someone without a lawyer to make statements to a prosecutor and provide them with very valuable information about what they are thinking.
It is extremely important to have an experienced attorney to protect your rights and to help you get the best resolution possible if you are trying to resolve your case without a trial. Cases in federal court are to a great extent shaped by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which encompass a variety of factors dealing with child pornography cases.
It is extremely important to have an attorney who has experience dealing with these guidelines and dealing with federal prosecutors in general, to work on either resolving your case or potentially taking your case to trial.