If you have been charged with a crime and you know you are guilty, you are likely expecting to face the consequences when your day in court comes. Although you may not be able to declare innocence or have the charges dropped, you can take legal steps to lighten your sentence. This means less or even no time in jail, or reduced fines. The following are some ways that you can improve your chances of a reduced sentence:

Tip #1: Seek treatment

Depending on the charges, sometimes seeking treatment on your own before it is court ordered can lessen your sentence. For example, begin visiting a rehab center if drugs or alcohol played a part in the crime shows that you are trying to clean up and change your ways. Another example is willing entering anger management therapy if you are charged with a more violent crime. In many cases this treatment will be required anyway, so beginning it early shows that you are sorry and willing to do what it takes to right your wrongs – without being court ordered to do so.

Tip #2: Plea bargaining

Do you have information that could help with another case? Or perhaps this is your first offense and the evidence isn't clear-cut enough to ensure a conviction. In this case, your lawyer may recommend that you negotiate the charges with the prosecuting attorney. You will either give information in exchange for lesser charges, or you will agree to plead guilty to lesser charges. This is also called plea bargaining, as you generally give the prosecutor or another official something they want, such as the names of others that were in the criminal circle, and in return, you have lesser charges. In some cases, charges can be dropped completely.

Tip #3: Negotiating

This tactic usually only works when there are extenuating circumstances. For example, if this is your first offense, you may be able to negotiate a lighter sentence based on past behavior. Or, if you have a debilitating or terminal illness or health condition that time in jail could prove fatal or inhibit treatment, it's possible to receive a lighter sentence or even house arrest in lieu of jail time. Every crime is different, so you must take your circumstances to a lawyer so they can determine if your reasons are justifiable enough to warrant a negotiation.

For more help, check out a website like http://dlplawyers.com/