By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
From time to time I’m asked what my win-loss record is. It’s a fair question, I suppose, from someone whose not around defense lawyers all-day every-day.
The question assumes all cases are equal in complexity, difficulty – and all people facing the dilemma of a criminal cases have the same tolerances for risk or life pressures which affect their decisions. So I like to joke “last year, I made the playoffs.” It normally gets a chuckle – but the person typically gets the point.
A sexual assault allegation where consent is blurred by alcohol consumption is much different than a bank robbery caught on tape. Also the pressures facing a pilot arrested for a DWI and the loss of a lucrative livelihood aren’t the same as a college student studying for an MBA who got arrested for marijuana. My goal is to clear everyone’s record who comes into my office – but not all cases are equal.
It’s unethical for any lawyer to guarantee results. This makes sense because we are in the profession of quantifying unpredictable variables. I know what the law says should happen — but unless I’m actually both your lawyer and the judge in a case, I can’t guarantee it will happen. I know how the prosecutor will likely approach your case — but until I’m both the prosecutor and your lawyer in a case, I can’t guarantee what will happen either. And then there are juries. Don’t even get me started with them.
So what constitutes a win is often relative. Make no mistake — I hate losing and I’ll always do my best to completely clear my client’s record in every case. Sometimes it can be a really tall mountain. If it is a bad felony charge we can often get it reduced if winning is too unrealistic. If we can’t win a case which might result in losing a job or even a career – then we can often get the charges reduced to something my client can live with. I’m in a tough business. There are cases which come in my door where a great outcome is simply less time in prison.
The one thing a lawyer can always guarantee is how they treat you and their effort.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas and is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.