What Are The Risks of Going to Trial?

When someone is charged with a crime, they are presented with several options on how to proceed. One of the options is to take the case to trial. However, going to trial comes with several risks that defendants should consider before making this decision. In this article, we’ll explore the various risks associated with going to trial.

Risk of Losing the Case

The most significant risk of going to trial is losing the case. When a defendant loses at trial, they face more severe penalties, which can include longer sentences, fines, and a criminal record. Furthermore, the evidence presented at trial becomes public record, which can negatively impact the defendant’s reputation. Therefore, before deciding to go to trial, defendants should consider the strength of the prosecution’s case and the evidence against them.

Risk of Increased Sentencing

Another risk of going to trial is the potential for increased sentencing. When a defendant opts for a trial, they face the possibility of a more severe sentence if found guilty. In contrast, by pleading guilty or negotiating a plea bargain, a defendant may be able to reduce their sentence.

Risk of Financial Loss

Going to trial can also be expensive. Trials require hiring attorneys, experts, and other personnel, and these costs can add up quickly. Furthermore, if the defendant loses at trial, they may be responsible for the prosecution’s legal fees. Considering the financial risks of going to trial is essential, and defendants should weigh these costs against the potential benefits.

Risk of Bias

Another risk associated with going to trial is the potential for bias. While the justice system aims to be fair and impartial, there is always the chance that a juror or judge may be biased against the defendant. In these cases, the defendant may not receive a fair trial, and the outcome could be unjust.

Risk of Wrongful Conviction

Finally, going to trial also poses the risk of wrongful conviction. While the justice system aims to be accurate, there are instances where innocent individuals have been wrongfully convicted. Unfortunately, wrongful convictions can result in severe consequences, including lost years of life, damaged relationships, and lost income.


Going to trial is a risk that defendants should carefully consider before making their decision. The risks include losing the case, increased sentencing, financial loss, potential for bias, and wrongful conviction. Considering these risks and weighing them against potential benefits is crucial in making an informed decision. Defendants facing criminal charges should consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss their options, including the risks and benefits of going to trial.

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