Prospective clients ask me “What is going to happen in my case?”
In most first time cases, I can give you a reasonably accurate answer. MOST first time cases are not about someone dying or getting shot. Most first time cases do not involve stealing thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff. The prosecutor is usually willing to give you a “second chance” and will recommend a plea agreement that reflects that willingness.
If a client screws up that first “second chance”, it gets a little less clear as to what the outcome might be. Then we start looking at the particular judge who is on your case. We need to know which prosecutor will be assigned to your case. We have to pay attention to what’s happening in the community: are there too many people in the local jail? Does the local judge care about that problem? Has the news been full of stories about crimes like yours? All of these things play into “what will happen” in you case. Blowing that “second chance” can have serious consequences.
Following the direction of a good attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of this type situation. He or she has been there many times before. He knows what this judge will require to give you “another second chance” or to make the prosecutor happy and keep you out of prison.
Clients with prior convictions (or in some case even just prior charges or arrests) should already know what the outcome could be. I say “could be” because these cases test your ability to change your lifestyle: all you gotta change is your playthings, playmates, and playgrounds. They test your attorney’s ability to find a solution that the DA thinks is enough punishment for you, and yet doesn’t create a situation where you simply can’t do what they are asking you to do. Sometimes this is very difficult.
And some cases are so thorny that a trial is the only answer. For some “first time” clients have started out really BIG, like shooting someone, or stealing thousands and thousands of dollars from someone: those cases are not going to end like a first time DUI or Possession of Marijuana case. There will be much more serious consequences.
And, oh yeah, then there’s the law. Some crimes have been deemed so serious that we don’t even care if it’s your first or second offense, we just want you away from society. Like Murder, or Trafficking in Illegal Drugs or Sex Crimes involving children. I’ve had an Animal Cruelty case where the prosecutor literally wouldn’t even discuss the case with me. “Set it for trial,” was all she’d say. So some crimes we will not tolerate. Even the “first” time.
I cannot, in this blog, tell you what will happen in your case. I don’t practice law by blog. I don’t practice law by telephone or by text. I sit down with you and we put the whole situation on the table and start analyzing it. Sometimes I can give you a quick answer. Sometimes we have to get a feel for where we are in the case before I can give you “any” answer.
This is where experience is a huge plus. You may have been in this situation once or twice or maybe five or six times. I’ve been in this situation several hundred times, literally thousands of times. A grizzled old warrior of a criminal defense trial lawyer once told me, “Every case is different, and every case is the same.” They all are created a bit differently, but we follow the same procedure and laws in each one. I may not know exactly what’s going to happen. But this is absolutely unknown territory for you. I can guide you through this. It’s like whitewater rafting: The rapids in the River are never the same. But its the same River. I can guide you through this.
Remember: ‘I ain’t sayin” nothin’ without my lawyer!”