A Criminal Case is Meant to go to Trial and You Cannot be Afraid to Lose
There are many non-criminal lawyers that will never, ever go to trial. In fact, as I have previously written, there seems to be a third option, other than settling or going to trial, in other types of law, which involves drawing out litigation that skirt the main issue and writing nasty letters to one another until the parties eventually settle on the eve of trial.
In contrast, as I tell my clients, in most cases a criminal case is meant to go to trial. There are very rarely meaningful incentives to plead guilty. It is not like a civil case where a settlement can save money. When you plead guilty, you are in a very similar situation as when you are found guilty after trial, except that you run the risk of getting a higher sentence (admittedly sometimes significantly so).
Of course the sentencing incentives have to be factored in, but what I learned early on is that it is ok to go to trial and lose. It is a good metaphor for life: you cannot be afraid to take a risk. You cannot be afraid to fail. You have to live with risk and failure in order to become a success. There are countless times I have been told by experienced judges and lawyers to plead my client guilty where I have come out with an acquittal or a better result than was initially offered. There are very few things in life that are more satisfying as a lawyer than that.