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What Happens if You Plead Not Guilty But are Found Guilty

what happens if you plead not guilty but are found guilty | Justice Family Lawyers

When facing criminal charges, one of the most critical decisions is whether to plead guilty or not guilty.

If you choose to plead not guilty, you are asserting your innocence and triggering a trial process. However, if the court ultimately finds you guilty, can your initial plea influence the outcome of your case?

This article explores what happens when you plead not guilty but are found guilty and how it can impact your case.

Pleading not guilty vs. being found guilty

Pleading not guilty means formally denying the charges against you and asserting your innocence. This plea initiates a trial, where the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and you have the opportunity to present your defense.

In contrast, being found guilty is the court’s determination of your guilt based on the evidence presented at trial. Once found guilty, you lose the presumption of innocence, and the focus shifts to sentencing. The court will consider the applicable sentencing guidelines, the specific facts of your case, and any relevant mitigating or aggravating factors.

Do I get a harsher sentence if I plead not guilty and am found guilty?

While pleading not guilty and being found guilty does not automatically result in a harsher sentence, it can potentially influence the outcome. Courts often view early guilty pleas favourably, as they demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and may suggest genuine remorse.

If you choose to plead not guilty and are subsequently found guilty, the court might consider this when determining your sentence. However, other factors, such as the severity of the offence, your prior history, and any mitigating circumstances, will also impact the sentencing decision.

Also read: Losing Credibility in Family Court: The Downward Spiral in Australian Legal Battles

Can I change my plea to guilty after being found guilty?

No, you cannot change your plea to guilty after a guilty verdict. Once a verdict of guilty has been handed down, it signifies the conclusion of the trial and the determination of your guilt.

At this stage, the focus shifts to sentencing, and the court will consider various factors to determine the appropriate penalty. However, if there are valid legal grounds, you may have the option to appeal the verdict.

Also read: 5 Basic Guide to Family Law Court Hearing Types in Australia

How does pleading not guilty affect my chances of getting a plea deal?

Pleading not guilty initially does not preclude the possibility of reaching a plea bargain later in the legal process. Plea negotiations often occur after an initial not guilty plea, as both sides assess their cases.

However, it’s important to note that plea bargains are not guaranteed, and the decision to offer one lies solely with the prosecution. If negotiations fail, going to trial remains an option, although it carries the risk of a guilty verdict and potentially more severe consequences.

Facing Family Law Charges?

Don’t leave your future to chance. Understanding your rights and options is crucial when dealing with legal matters. Contact Justice Family Lawyers today for expert legal advice and guidance tailored to your unique situation, ensuring you make informed decisions every step of the way.

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