Originally Posted by KyJim
So even if a person is guilty and the state has strong proof, he or she should go to trial and take probable jail time rather than a fine?
That's a judgement call for you and your attorney. You may be guilty of one crime as charged, but not others "piled on" by cops or prosecutors. For example, in arguing with a neighbor police are called and eventually it's decided to charge you with trespassing. When the cop grabs your arm and says "Come with me" you yank free to pick up your ball cap... and the cop decides to charge your with resisting arrest. (It happened to a former neighbor I once had). He fought both charges and managed to win dismissal of the resisting charge and paid a whopping $25 fine for trespass.
Had he not fought, it's very possible that anti-gun legislation could be enacted, like Lautenberg, adding a new "disability" to certain misdemeanor crimes including assault, battery, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer (i.e. touching), etc.
Your lawyer can also initiate a plea deal to some charge that's much more innocuous, and less likely to incur a disability, such as disturbing the peace.
It's happening in other areas of law too. A man, 68, was convicted of fraud in 1963 at age 19
. But a new federal law meant to keep fraudsters and identity thieves out of banks meant he had to be fired, 49 years after the fact. A case of misdemeanor fraud turns out to be a big deal almost 50 years later when a senior citizen loses his job in this economy.