Going to trial is not the only way that criminal defense lawyers can help their clients escape the worst punishments that the law can deliver. In fact, the cases that go to trial represent only a small minority of the total cases that the criminal court handles. Most of the time, it is obvious whether or not there is compelling evidence against the defendant. If there is room for debate about whether the evidence points to your guilt, or even about whether investigators had the right to look for the evidence, then your criminal defense lawyers may focus their strategy on getting the prosecution to drop the charges against you, effectively declaring you innocent without having to go through a jury trial. Most defendants know it from the beginning when the evidence clearly shows that the state’s allegations are true; in this case, the defendant chooses to plead guilty, and criminal defense lawyers focus their strategy on a plea deal that will result in the least possible amount of prison time and social stigma. No one can force you to plead guilty, though. You always have the right to go to trial and to make the case that the evidence to convict you is insufficient. A criminal attorney can help you think through the consequences of your plea and present your side of the story.
Court Sentences Defendant to 20 Years for Drug Possession and Solicitation of a Minor
In January 2022, Dakota Beal, 25, seemed to have a perfect life, with a wife, two children, and steady employment. By his own account, though, he was in a dark place emotionally. He began communicating with a woman on the dating app MeetMe, thinking that she was about his age. When she told him she was 14, though, he continued to exchange messages with her and even sent her a nude photo. He also exchanged messages online with women through escort service apps and offered to pay them for sex, but he did not meet any of them in person.
Eventually, the conversation partner from MeetMe agreed to meet Beal in person. On January 12, Beal went to the designated meeting place and found that the exchange had been a sting operation, and the person who had been chatting with him was an undercover police officer. He was charged with solicitation of a minor and with drug possession, because he had six grams of methamphetamine in his pocket at the time of the arrest.
Beal pleaded not guilty; until he heard all the evidence at his trial, he was sure he was innocent. After the jury convicted him, his defense lawyers argued for a sentence that did not include prison time. Beal offered to undergo drug treatment and sex offender treatment. The maximum sentence he could have gotten was 99 years, but in December 2022, the court sentenced him to 20 years.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Sex Crime Cases
A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are being accused of sex crimes after unknowingly communicating with an undercover officer. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC to discuss your case.