Criminal Law’s Dirty Little Secret

Ideally, the legal system punishes those who are guilty of crimes and exonerates those who innocent. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The truth is that the moment you are arrested the cost of defending yourself will continuously increase.

Even being released on bail can come at a huge cost. To put it simply, an accused has a better chance of being released on bail if they have an experienced lawyer arguing on their behalf.  However, even if they are released there may be certain bail conditions, which if violated, can come with hefty fines.

The costs however do not end there! Between the bail hearing, negotiation, pre-trials, and the trial itself, it can cost thousands of dollars to mount a strong defence. During this time the accused may have a mortgage to pay, family expenses, medical costs, and the general expenses of day-to-day living to maintain. All this leads up to one undeniable fact. Innocent people plead guilty!

It is an unfortunate truth that some people simply cannot afford to fight the allegations with which they are charged. This creates a system where some feel that a plea deal is their only option. However, even the very “best” plea deals can have unforeseen consequences.

For example, a deal in which the accused accepts a peace bond means they will not have a criminal record. However, an in-depth background check, for example when working in a vulnerable sector or for the police, will show that the accused agreed to a peace bond.

Thus, a choice made under immense pressure can have far-reaching implications for one’s personal life and future career prospects.