The large bulk of criminal cases are either pled out or dismissed; to go to trial is unusual. Trials are not bad in and of themselves, but juries are highly unpredictable. Unless you have a really good defense, that element of unpredictability is something that you want to avoid. This is because many judges impose what is known as a trial tax. Basically what that means is that because you went to trial, you are going to get more jail time or prison time than somebody who just came in and pled guilty. If you can work something out that gives you certainty and is favorable to you, then that’s generally recommended.
How Does A Prior Arrest Or Conviction Impact Someone’s Criminal Case?
Having a prior arrest or conviction certainly prejudices the prosecutor and the judge. They are not going to do the client any favors. The longer an arrest history is, the worse it will be for the person. A lack of history can help in terms of the outcomes and minimizing confinement. Sometimes a second or subsequent offense can enhance the current offense, such as a fourth DUI in a ten year period becoming a felony.
In Georgia, family violence and battery is another offense that can be enhanced by a prior offense. If you are convicted of beating your spouse, and then you beat another spouse (or somebody with a familial relation or somebody living in the same household), then the second offense automatically becomes a felony based upon the prior arrest or conviction.
What Qualities Should I Look For When Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney? What Are Some Red Flags?
Generally, I tell people to look for somebody that they feel comfortable with. You should choose somebody who will take the time to answer your questions and explain everything to you, including what their fees are. At our firm, we’ll begin with a free consultation on a criminal case. Then, we’ll provide a proposed contract that outlines everything on our representation, including the fees. This way, there are no surprises and nothing that shocks anybody later on. You generally want somebody who practices in that area and who knows the court. You want someone who knows how to approach specific judges and DAs on certain cases in order to get the results that you are looking for. You also want to look at somebody’s reviews or references. If you look at an attorney and he only has bad reviews, then that tells you something. If you look at an attorney and they have only good reviews, then that also tells you something.
In terms of red flags, there are three big ones that I look for right off the bat. The first is hidden fees or attorneys who aren’t upfront about how much it’s going to cost. Secondly, people who have very bad reviews. One or two bad reviews are acceptable because we are not going to make everybody happy in this business. However, if somebody has multiple bad reviews, then that’s something you have to be concerned about. The biggest red flag that we generally see is the issuance of promises. The reality is that no defense attorney can guarantee anything in the way of outcomes. They can’t bind the hands of the judge or the prosecutor, so they can’t promise anything. You can say, “Look I’ve had these types of cases before, with this judge and this prosecutor, and I was able to get a certain result. I think I might be able to do that in your case, but I can’t promise you anything.” So, when somebody says that they’ve talked to an attorney who promised a certain result, all I can do is wish them good luck, because it generally ends up poorly.
For more information on Criminal Cases Going To Trial Vs. Settling, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 726-5400 today.