By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
It’s common for people who’ve never been in trouble before to assume everyone knows (or will know) all the details of their case… this includes their attorney. Try as I might, I’m just not a psychic. There aren’t many types of cases I haven’t seen… but each case I handle is truly it’s own snowflake.
Not only is each case it’s own snowflake, but everyone has different motivating factors in decision making. Often how we treat a case depends more on a collateral issue (such as professional licensing, a medical condition, or immigration status) as it does the actual underlying facts. It’s too important to assume your attorney understands what truly keeps you up at night about the case.
I hope my client knows I’m not the high school principal, a policeman, or a judge. Nothing they tell me is going cause me to treat their case anything other than professionally.
As such, today we’re discussing the 5 things you should tell your lawyer:
5. All the facts about the case you think are important.
I want my clients to feel comfortable. They can tell me every detail about their case or none of the details because we don’t live in a country where we must prove our own innocence. One of the problems I have in evaluating a case through only a police report, though, is police reports tend read like a soviet history book with white-washed and self-serving facts and conclusions. Often I find a police report doesn’t support nor contradict my client’s version of events. This shows the importance of my client’s own account to the over-all evaluation of the case.
4. If You’ve Been in Trouble Before.
Most people have only 1 or 2 run-ins with the law during their lifetime. If you’ve been in trouble in the past, it’s important your lawyer know this because it could dramatically effect plea negotiations and even the Prosecutor’s ability to enhance the charges against you.
3. If You’re Citizenship Status is Anything Less than A Full Citizen.
Immigration is a hot topic in Washington. Criminal actions can have extremely complicated and far-reaching implications for people seeking naturalization or people who may seek to apply for citizenship in the future. Immigration issues often put people in “must-win” situations in Court.
2. If You Have Special or Professional Licensing.
Criminal charges and professional licenses don’t mix well. If you’ve got any type of special licensing required by your job it’s important your lawyer know so they can do everything possible to protect that licensing. It ranges from a license to practice law, medical licensing and even commercial driver’s licenses. Again, we’re not psychic and a criminal conviction can might only result in probation — but a loss of licensing could cause permanent damage to your livelihood.
1. The Truth.
Having criminal charges pending against you isn’t much different from being on an operating table. You wouldn’t lie or even shade the truth to your Doctor about where they need to cut to save your life. Telling your lawyer something which misleads them only hurts you in the long-run.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any situation you should contact an attorney directly.