Did you know that about 95 percent of cases involving felonies end in guilty pleas from the defendant? This is according to a recent report from PBS News Hour.

As staggering as this number seems, though, it is not an accurate indication of the number of people facing felony charges who are guilty. In fact, many of the people who decide to plead guilty before a trial are not guilty.

Why do innocent people plead guilty?

Facing serious criminal charges is a very difficult and frightening situation for any person, and there are many reasons why a person might plead guilty to wrongful allegations.

A person might feel like there is no possible defense; prosecutors might make an offer than lets him or her avoid jail time in exchange for a guilty plea; a person may feel like he or she will not get a fair chance in the judicial system; some people might even plead guilty in an effort to protect someone else.

Other issues that arise in criminal cases

In addition to difficult decisions regarding a plea, defendants also face challenges when it comes to making statements to police, protecting their rights and fighting for a fair sentence.

The importance of a legal defense

At each step of the criminal justice system, it can be very challenging for a person accused of a crime to accurately understand his or her choices as well as the consequences that comes with each choice. Prosecutors are not out to help a person accused of a crime, and neither are the police or other law enforcement agents.

This is why it is crucial for a person facing criminal charges to consult an attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can explain the system and help a person determine what is in his or her best interests with regard to responding to the allegations, whether this includes seeking reduced penalties or fighting to have the charges dismissed.