WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER?
A criminal defense lawyer is not your new best friend, your teacher or your therapist. He is the one person who stands between you and the awesome power of the government. You need a criminal defense lawyer who understands that his job is to serve your needs.
The sad truth is that there are many people in prison in the United States who have been convicted of either a crime they did not commit, or a greater crime than they committed. How is this possible? There are two primary reasons. The government has two things that individuals do not:
1. Unlimited Resources
2. A system designed to facilitate conviction
The individual accused of a crime in this country has only one thing going for him, his right to counsel. A lawyer is the only person who stands between the accused defendant and conviction.
Over the past 20 years, sentences have become increasingly harsh, striking fear in the hearts of most defendants as well as their lawyers. As a result, many defendants are told to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because their lawyers are either unwilling or unable to fight for their freedom.
Another trend has been cooperation with the government, where a defendant becomes a confidential informant and provides the government with information on friends and family in order to obtain leniency. Many attorneys view this as an "easy out" from the exceptionally severe federal sentencing guidelines, and counsel their clients to become cooperators before exhausting all available avenues of defense. Even with cooperation, however, most defendants are shocked that they are still sentenced to lengthy prison terms when they believed that they would be released.
The simple truth is that the best possible result comes from a position of strength, not weakness. The only way to defend from a position of strength is to think "outside the box" to find innovate approaches that relate to the specific set of circumstances for each defendant. To develop a strategy that gives each defendant the best possible hope of success requires enormous effort.
Consider this when deciding who you want to represent you. Does the attorney approach your representation with his focus on you and your particular situation, or does he trivialize your concerns and just say "don't worry?" Does the attorney tell you that he's handled cases like yours a thousand times before, without recognizing that you are not "like everybody else" and deserve to receive legal representation specifically designed for your needs? Does the attorney have the experience and reputation to follow through on his promise that he will fight for you?
You do not need to love your criminal defense lawyer when you retain him. You need to love him when the case is over. There are no second chances in the criminal justice system, so you need to have the right legal representation as early as possible. Don't end up in prison because you made a poor choice in attorneys. Give yourself the best possible chance to prevail by making the best possible choice now.