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Why would someone plead guilty to assault?

Plea agreements are offered by prosecutors in New Jersey. In fact, many criminal cases in the state actually end with a plea agreement instead of ever making their way to trial. Why would anyone agree to plead guilty to an offense, especially when the individual continues to claim complete innocence of the crime alleged?

Take the example of one man who recently entered into a plea agreement for assault in New Jersey. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the man was required to admit to participating in an attack on an umpire in a New Jersey Little League game. Yet, when reporters asked him about the accusations, he said that he was actually trying to help the umpire and never committed the alleged offense.

For this man, he feared that the jury would have been slightly biased against him. Why? Because there was in fact an assault and the umpire suffered some very serious injuries in the incident. While he was the coach and he was upset about the umpire’s refusal to end the game due to darkness, there were 16 other men who did participate in the incident. “I knew they weren’t going to separate what those guys did from me,” the man admitted.

That is a risk that this man was not going to take. For him, the stakes were high. Entering into a plea agreement meant no jail time for the man, but risking that the jury would be unable to see him as a separate actor was also risking up to 10 years of his life that could be spent behind bars. As a father of seven children, he said that the risk was simply too great.

A plea agreement is the route that some defendants choose to take, but it is important to remember that prosecutors are still often looking for that “conviction.” Entering into this type of agreement should only be done with an attorney on your side, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Source: Fox News, “New Jersey Little League coach admits to assaulting umpire,” June 13, 2013

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