This is a very common concern clients have and often ask me about it. Dong counseling before trial would not really matter in terms of a trial because the trial would be about what happened, not about what the person did after the trial. In terms of sentencing, I would not recommend my client to go for counseling if they were guilty.
I often tell my clients that if they think it is appropriate, they should by all means go for counseling or treatment before the case was over; although they should not do it just for the sake of the case.
Plea Offers Vs. The Jury Trial
On misdemeanors, there might be a little bit of a benefit to the plea offer. For example, if there was an offer for an extreme charge to be plead down to a regular DUI, the person would obviously have a better outcome with sentencing.
Sometimes, if the person went to trial and lost, the prosecutors would ask for higher penalties as compared to what the offer was. I handled a case last year which involved a blood test result that came back at 0.18%. It was an extreme charge with the minimum penalty being nine days in jail if guilty, whereas the prosecutor had asked for around 30 days after a guilty verdict at trial. Ultimately the judge gave the defendant the minimum sentence for nine days, which is what I had wanted.
Sometimes the prosecutors ask for more jail time than they offered in a plea offer if the client rejects the plea offer and then is found guilty at trial, but that would be pretty rare. In terms of whether the judge would award punishment or give a worse sentence because the person went to trial, most judges would not do that. However, there are a few that would, which is why it is be very helpful to know the judge ahead of time and take that into account.
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