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Answers to Common Questions for a Criminal Defense Lawyer

March 4, 2017 Criminal Law and Procedure

As a lawyer I’m often asked common questions from potential clients. In this article I’ll try to answer some of those questions.

Can you Get me a Sweet Plea Bargain?

I don’t promise potential clients any particular result. In fact, no criminal defense should promise any result before the case has really begun. My standard practice is to let the potential client know what type of plea bargains might be available in the situation or what outside-the-box plea bargains there may be to work for.

I do not lead clients into believing that we will walk into court with an operating while intoxicated charge and walk out with an impeding traffic civil infraction. I want potential clients to know what to expect. This does not mean that we won’t go for that sweet deal. We can and certainly will strive to get a result above and beyond that standard deal. We will develop a plan of action to accomplish that. However, I don’t want to mislead a person into thinking the situation is so simply that we’ll just get three assault charges dismissed in exchange for some traffic tickets. It’s not that simple.

Can you Get my Case Dismissed?

Your case is not simply going to be dismissed because we walk into court and ask the prosecutor to dismiss the case. Why would the prosecutor have gone to the work of filing charges if they were just going to be dismissed at the first court date?

Similarly, you’re probably not going to get an above-standard deal without working for it either. To obtain a dismissal, it is likely that we will have to fight the case against you. This means looking at the case for all possible attacks, weak points of evidence, and areas to exploit. It will be necessary to fight the case to get a good deal.

Often potential clients do not want to hear that we must fight the criminal case in order to get a good result. The belief is that they are a good person, have never been in trouble, they are not in court for anything bad, and therefore the sweet deal should just be handed. I don’t disagree. I do think and want you to get a great deal or get your case dismissed. But people need to know that this requires work, and sometimes that work means proactively fighting the case. If everyone just went to court and got sweet deals then people wouldn’t even be charged with crimes in the first place.

Why Would I Need to Fight My Case?

Many people are surprise or even shocked to learn they must proactively fight the case. When you walk into Court for the first time, the prosecutor has no reason to simply dismiss the case, even when the case against you is weak. The prosecutor has no incentive to at that point. Think about it like this – the prosecutor just went to the trouble of filing charges against you, then you walk into court for the first time.

There is literally no way the prosecutor at that point in time can lose the case. The prosecutor is also no under obligation at that first court date to perform any more work for the case. The criminal charges are filed and the prosecutor can just sit back and wait for the defense attorney to do something. Compounding the problem is that many prosecutors at court do not have the discretion to dismiss the charges or offer a non-standard plea deal.

In addition, all prosecutors know that most cases plea out. Even if the defense lawyer talks tough that really doesn’t mean anything because it’s just all talk – these prosecutors know that most defense attorneys will simply tell the client to plead.

The criminal defense lawyer must do something to make it possible for the prosecutor to lose the case. The criminal defense lawyer must change this dynamic that encourages the prosecutor’s complacency. This is done by challenging the case, which means filing a motion or scheduling the case for trial. Once you’ve filed a motion or set the case for trial then everything changes. Because now the prosecutor can lose the case. The prosecutor will also need to go through a lot of work to prosecute the case. It’s possible now the prosecutor will listen a little more closely to the defense attorney’s settlement negotiations.

There’s no guarantee the prosecutor will automatically dismiss the case simply because you’ve filed a motion. In fact, the same prosecutor may still have his or hands tied because of an office policy and is unable to offer any deal other than the standard deal. The criminal defense attorney can then simply follow through on the challenge – in an attempt to win the case or hurt the prosecution’s case. You cannot win the case unless you have set the case up for the possibility of winning.

Contact ArborYpsi Law

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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ArborYpsi Law Focuses on Criminal Defense

Our 100% focus at ArborYpsi Law is representation of people charged with crimes. Criminal defense is not one of many areas of law we practice. This work is not an add-on to our main lucrative work. Criminal Defense is our only work. We can represent you on DUI cases, traffic violations, domestic violence, drug crimes, disorderly conduct, and more.

At every stage of the proceedings we will make sure you understand everything that is happening. We will also provide our candid advice when asked, and provide an honest evaluation of the case. This can all start with a free initial consultation. We welcome anyone who wants to meet at the office and we will explain the charges against you, the law, and the process moving forward. At the consultation, we will explain what we can do for you as your criminal defense attorney. If we are not the right fit for you, then we can certainly try to find the right attorney for you.

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ArborYpsi Law is a Local Law Firm

We focus our cases in Washtenaw County. We are not attorneys who advertise as Washtenaw County attorneys but who drive 45 minutes from Oakland County to be here. We are based right across the street from the 14A-1 District Court and jail, and down the street from the 14A-2 District Court and 14B District Court. It’s in the name – ArborYpsi law.