Clients Will Look at all Their Options Out of Fear of Going to Trial
Sometimes defendants feel they are innocent but plead guilty because they are scared to go to trial. Or sometimes they have a great case that they could potentially win, yet they decide to take a deal. This happens A TON, and as a defense attorney it stinks because we like to be in the courtroom, but we work for the client.
I had a case that I was working on for about half a year that was getting a bit old. The charge could potentially land my client in prison for 2-10 years. He was caught with an illegal item in his vehicle but claims that someone must have left it in there. This is a tough situation, because what happens on most of these cases is the defendant will bring an affidavit from someone saying, “that illegal item was mine, it wasn’t defendants”. The problem is, since so many people do this, the prosecutors never believe anyone. My client did in fact have one of these affidavits.
What are the Possible Outcomes?
So what do you do in this situation? I advised my client of his rights and what I thought his chances were if we went to trial. I told him the best offers that he was receiving from the district attorneys. He asked me my opinion and I told him I thought he had a good chance of winning, and that I thought a trial was a great option. He also asked me what would happen if he lost. As I am with all of my clients, I was truthful. I warned him that if he lost he could potentially be looking at a good amount of prison time because of his priors.
The Client’s Choice
My client slept on it and decided that he didn’t want to risk trial, and that he would accept the probation that they were offering him. I completely understand his choice, and we will never know whether that was the correct choice or not. But he is guaranteed to get probation and not end up in prison, and to him, that was better than even a small chance that he could go to prison. It’s easy for a lawyer to say, “let’s go to trial you have a great case.” But at the end of the day you have to put yourself in your client’s shoes and realize how scary it must be to make that decision, and take that risk.
So when clients decide to go to trial, a lawyer should do everything in their power to give them a great defense. But when a client decides to take a deal, a lawyer needs to respect that as well.
- 3rd Degree Felony – Pled to 2 years Deferred Adjudication
- Possession of Cocaine -Reset to research an interesting issue
- DWI – Reset to wait on blood results
- DWI – DISMISSED