After an arrest, you may wonder whether your criminal charges align with the events of your case. One of the tactics used by police and district attorneys is to stack charges in hopes that at least one sticks.
There are two ways in which authorities overcharge defendants. Horizontal overcharging happens when law enforcement officers separate offenses into multiple crimes. Vertical overcharging occurs when prosecutors levy a higher charge for a single offense than what the circumstances warrant.
The defendant faces pressure to accept plea bargains
Some prosecutors use overcharging tactics to intimidate and manipulate defendants into accepting plea deals. If you face five criminal charges stemming from a single arrest, you may feel discouraged about trying to fight your case in court, and the prosecuting attorney might convince you to plead guilty to a single lesser charge. By overcharging, prosecutors can increase conviction rates while avoiding jury trials, even in cases where evidence is lacking.
The accused faces a financial burden to mount a defense
Legal fees for criminal defendants add up quickly, and the more charges there are to contend with, the higher the costs may be. In many cases, cash dries up quickly, especially when the accused remains incarcerated long enough to affect employment. If you face financial hardship due to your mounting legal woes, you may be more inclined to plead guilty and accept a criminal conviction rather than fight a potentially winnable battle before a judge.
If police accuse you of committing a crime in Louisiana, it is important to understand the charges and implications as well as your rights.