What are My Possible Court Case Outcomes?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

gavel and flagYou have been arrested, and you know that your case is going forward, but what are the possible outcomes for this case?

The outcome of your case varies depending on the criminal charges you face, the evidence against you, and the caliber of criminal defense attorney you hire. That is why it is vital that you understand your rights, but also that you know how a case might end up – and what you can do to get a more favorable outcome in your case.

Potential Outcomes of a Case in Albuquerque

If you are charged with a crime, the outcome might not be as simple as guilty or not guilty. Depending on the case circumstances, you have a few resolutions – each ranging in severity.

The Case is Acquitted or Dismissed

An acquittal is the courts way of saying you are not guilty and the charges are dismissed, and the process terminated.

There are two types of dismissals:

  1. Dismissal with prejudice, which means that the case is entirely thrown out, and you cannot be charged with the same crime.
  2. Dismissal without prejudice means that the prosecutor can re-charge you for the same crime and it would not be a matter of double jeopardy.

Taking a Plea Deal for a Lesser Charge

Another option is that you make a plea bargain. In this instance, you have a negotiated deal with the prosecution where you plead “guilty” or “no contest” to the crime in exchange for a lesser sentence. In some cases, lower charges are dismissed entirely – having you plead to only one charge.

Prosecutors will only negotiate a plea deal when it is beneficial for them. Your deal must be reasonable, and your defense attorney will work to secure the best deal possible.

Serving a Jail Sentence

If you plead guilty, no contest or you are found guilty during the trial, you will possibly serve a jail sentence. Not all crimes encounter jail sentences – such as you could have probation instead of jail. More serious crimes will typically involve a prison sentence; which is not the same as a jail sentence.

Examples of crimes that might result in jail sentences:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Driving under the influence
  • A minor in possession
  • Assault and battery without a deadly weapon
  • Destruction of property
  • Petty theft
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended driver’s license
  • Reckless driving
  • Fraud – without high monetary amounts involved
  • Larceny

Serving a Prison Sentence

Serious crimes or repeat offenses might result in imprisonment. Typically, prison sentences include one or more years served.

Also, felonies will typically encounter prison sentences, while misdemeanors are more likely to serve jail sentences.

Examples of crimes that may result in prison sentences:

  • Felony assault
  • Possession of a controlled substance (or controlled substance without a prescription)
  • Possession with the intent to distribute
  • Malicious destruction of property that exceeds a threshold of property value
  • DUI that results in a motor vehicle death
  • Felony firearm cases
  • Arson
  • Forgery
  • Fleeing the scene of a crime or eluding the police
  • Larceny when property values exceed a specific threshold
  • Sex crimes
  • Armed robbery

What is the Difference Between Prison and Jail?

Jail is always short-term incarceration, while prison is long-term incarceration. The county or sheriff office run jails, and they will hold people who are waiting for trial or serving a sentence that is 12 months or less.

Prisons are operated by the state and sometimes Federal Bureau of Prisons. They hold individuals convicted of crimes, and prisoners are not awaiting trial – unless appeal. The sentences for prison are over one year and can range from ten years to life. Those convicted and sentenced for capital crimes will await execution in prison.

Probation

Sometimes a judge will forgo incarceration and issue a sentence of probation. Probation is more likely to occur if you are a first-time offender or you committed a non-violent crime. With probation you can remain in the community, keep your job, stay at home, and continue your routine. However, you will have restrictions on that probation that you must follow. Failure to comply those restrictions could result in a revocation and you serving the remainder (if not more) of your sentence in jail.

Two Types of Probation Issued

Judges will frequently order one of the following forms of probation:

  • Unsupervised Probation: You do not have a probation officer that you regularly report to, and you may not be required to complete drug or alcohol screening during the probation. You can still have restrictions, such as keeping a job, attending counseling, or not driving a vehicle.
  • Supervised (Reporting) Probation: You must check in with a probation officer over the phone or in person, and you may be subjected to drug and alcohol screening throughout the probation period. You will also have more stringent conditions for your probation, such as not being able to associate with certain people.

Are there Incarceration Alternatives?

Sometimes a judge will consider an alternative to incarceration for a crime. However, it depends on the unique circumstances of the case and the defendant’s reasoning for requesting the alternative. Some other options to incarceration can include attending a boot camp, wearing a tracking device, home arrest, work release, a residential drug abuse program, or living in a halfway home.

Concerned about Your Case? Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney

No one can predict the future, and every criminal case is unique. The only way to guarantee the best possible outcome is by working with a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Speak with an attorney now from the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. Schedule your free case evaluation at 505-375-4672 or request more information online.