Things You Should Know
The average person has some idea of what happens in a criminal case. Now, if you have been criminally charged I would like to explain the important concepts of a criminal case and enumerate some possible serious scenarios of which you should be aware.
The primary things a lawyer must-do for all criminal cases (from DWI to murder cases) are conduct a primary investigation, negotiate with the prosecution, come before a judge, and if the case goes to trial persuasively tell the client's story to a jury.
Let me emphasize the importance of conducting a proper investigation. Whether it is a DWI or a murder case relying on the opposing side to gather the facts of the case is tantamount to malpractice. An essential activity, investigations include looking for evidence, testing the evidence, preserving evidence and litigating to get evidence.
Investigations And The Role Of The Police
At some point the police may be a neutral party prior to an arrest. However, in most cases where there are serious allegations once a person is arrested the police becomes a vested witness aligned with the prosecution. There are good and bad police officers and in some cases the police may break the law and there may be some crucial evidence that may be suppressed. It is the duty of the defense attorney to conduct a thorough investigation independent of the police to test the prosecutor's evidence. Once the evidence is gathered by the defense, then negotiations with a prosecutor can begin.
Negotiating With The Prosecution
In some cases the evidence for a non-guilty verdict is obvious and the prosecutor dismisses the case without much of a fight. Other times there is evidence against a defendant, but it isn't strong. The prosecution can then be convinced to drop the charges or pursue lesser charges. In cases where the evidence points to guilty, it is the attorney's experience and the relationship with the prosecution that gets a good sentence for the defendant.
Trials are ultimately the real test of an attorney's work and his ability to persuade. The jurors are some of the few people in the jurisprudence system that do not have daily interaction with judges or prosecutors. This makes them ideal jurists in a criminal trial. The problem with this model is that jurors have no or very minimal experience evaluating evidence for the purpose of a trial, and minimal or no experience in exercising legal concepts.
It takes a very good attorney to be able to introduce evidence to jurors in a way that exposes the very real bias against the defendant in the legal process and simultaneously keep legal defensive concepts alive throughout the trial. It is by no accident that a defendant is found not guilty. It takes a very dedicated attorney to form and execute a defense that leads to a not guilty verdict.
Ultimately it is the defendant’s decision whether to take a case to trial. Hiring a lawyer costs money, but it is my opinion that the attorney's fees should not play into your decision to fight your case in front of a jury. If you can not afford an attorney the court will appoint an attorney for you.
Trial Or Plea
At this point in my career I have fought in many criminal trials and because of their serious nature I always keep the client informed. I will explain two real scenarios which may happen.
In serious cases you may be intimidated into taking a plea because of the possible negative outcome of a trial. It is not an easy decision to lie to a judge about your guilt if you are innocent in order to avoid the stress and risk of a jury trial. You are the only one who can make the decision whether to go forward with a trial or not. My approach is that I will be ready to defend you if you wish to proceed to a trial.
Some clients of mine have been found guilty by jury although I truly believed in their innocence. I will always take the time to understand where you are coming from and it is in my nature to help you using my intellect, experience, and hard work.