Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why we fight...

While I can't get into specifics about my cases for client confidentiality reasons, I can tell you with a certainty that in many jurisdictions you are so much better off fighting the case as opposed to negotiating the case.  If you take your case to a suppression hearing or trial, you are more likely to get a better offer than if you merely try to negotiate a deal without putting the blood, sweat and tears into the case.  

There is one jurisdiction where the best offer they will ever make is to plead guilty to the mandatory minimum penalties... regardless of the strengths or weaknesses of your case.  If you have a triable case, why in the world would you plead guilty?  If you have a legitimate issue to go to a suppression hearing on, why in the world would you plead guilty?  I don't know but I see way too many lawyers withdrawing their motions and folding up the tent so to speak. 

Test the State's theory of the case.  Of course the DA is going to tell you you will lose the hearing.  They're hoping you will fold.  However, no one and I mean no one can predict with certainty the outcome of a suppression hearing or trial.  Things go wrong.  Witnesses forget.  Witnesses contradict themselves.  Witnesses lie.  Video evidence doesn't support the police officer's testimony.  Certain evidence is inadmissible that the State was counting on getting admitted.  The list goes on and on.  The only thing that is certain is that if you plead guilty, you will be saddled with a criminal record for the rest of your life.  Think about that the next time you're in court with your lawyer.