People accused of crimes often feel helpless and hopeless. Some are fortunate to have the support of family members and friends. Others lose the support of family members and friends when the charges are announced by news outlets.
In many cases the accused is convicted by the public before he or she ever steps foot in the courtroom.
1. Be relentless.
A criminal trial is a crucible or defining moment that will forever change the accused’s life. There is nothing worse than being falsely accused of a crime and feeling as if you must fight to prove your innocence.
While the burden to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt always remains with the prosecution in court, the accused often fights an uphill battle to prove his or her innocence in the news and in his or her community.
Those who won vehemently denied the allegations and never wavered from the position that fighting the case until the end is the right thing to do. Prosecutors will try to plea bargain, but the plea offer is usually still a guilty plea and your name will end up in the criminal records. To most innocent people, this offer is unacceptable.
For those falsely accused citizens facing the most horrific crimes, their decision to dig in early and fight the entire way can be extremely helpful to their defense because it focuses on one singular result rather than other possibilities through plea negations.
2. Be honest with your Lawyer.
Criminal cases will often involve personal matters. The accused may be embarrassed or ashamed of things that have occurred in his or her life.
It is important that people charged with crimes be completely honest with their Lawyers. Any information a criminal defendant provides to a lawyer cannot be divulged by that lawyers without the client’s consent.
Nothing sinks a case faster than when a lawyer has been blindsided because his or her client has lied about some facts that seemed unimportant at the time. When this happens, the lawyer can lose all credibility in Court. Furthermore, if the client has lied to the lawyer and testifies, there is a possibility that the prosecutor will become aware of the inconsistency in the client’s statement and exploit this to discredit the client.
3. Understand the gravity of the situation.
In life, there are plenty of opportunities to save money, but defending a criminal case is not one of them. Most people charged with serious crimes understand that if they are convicted their lives will be altered forever.
Lawyers who like to fight also like to have tools at their disposal to prepare for the next battle. Preparation may require the use of private investigators and expert witnesses in addition to Legal fees. In many cases, however, it is not enough that the accused hires the best lawyer he or she could afford; the accused must also be willing to go the distance and spend the money to provide that lawyer with as many resources necessary to effectively fight the charges.
While not everyone facing serious criminal charges faces a financial crisis, it’s not uncommon.
However, most people who want to fight the charges take the long view of things. This means they understand what their annual earning capacity is and how much it would cost if they had to spend the next twenty years in prison. From that perspective, the cost of lawyers, investigators, and experts seems very reasonable.
4. Trust your lawyer.
Criminal trials are often a team effort. While the lawyer may go to the scene of a crime, review video evidence, read police reports, and examine other physical evidence, the lawyer never has the same perspective of the client. For this reason, it is important that the client communicate with his or her lawyer and provide all information requested.
In some instances when a client does not trust his or her lawyer, the lawyer never gets the complete understanding of what happened, and the case narrative fails. Keep in mind that trust is a two-way street. In some instances, the lawyer must trust that the client is telling the absolute truth in order to present the best possible defense.
Bottom line: Criminal trials are a team effort. The accused must work with his or her lawyer to deal with both good and bad facts. When trials are not a team effort, the results are usually disastrous.
5. Have a support system in place.
Criminal cases may linger for a year or more before they are actually tried. The citizens accused in these cases are often stressed from the initial time of arrest until they receive the not guilty verdict. A good support system of parents, family and/or friends can make all the difference. A support system can provide financial assistance or emotional support to the accused.
Anyone facing a serious criminal charge knows how lonely the world can be. It is imperative that people charged with crimes have people in their corner who support them and let them know that they will remain by the side of the accused no matter what. This not only gives the accused the courage to make it through each day, but also provides the desire and drive to fight the case.
In conclusion, it takes guts to take a case to trial. From a risk mitigation standpoint, the accused might feel more comfortable taking a prosecutor’s plea deal. However, when everything is on the line intestinal fortitude is paramount If you have been charged with a crime and need to fight to win back your reputation and protect your freedom.