THE TWO WAYS A CRIMINAL CASE CAN BE RESOLVED
Generally speaking, there are two ways your case can be disposed of- 1) You can demand a trial by Judge or Jury, or 2) You can plead guilty. Of course, your case could just get dismissed, but that is very rare, even when a victim asks the District Attorney to dismiss a case.
If you intend to take your case to trial, my experience and training can help you effectively present your side of the story to the Judge or Jury. Most people already know that an attorney’s assistance at a trial is almost essential. However, even if you plan on pleading guilty, you should still consider hiring a lawyer.
Many people think they are wasting money by hiring a lawyer to enter into a plea bargain, but if you read on, you will understand why it is important to have a lawyer with you even if you decide to plead guilty.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING A LAWYER EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO “FIGHT.”
Even if you plan on pleading guilty and taking your punishment, there are many reasons you should consider hiring a lawyer. Among other things, lawyers can get cases reset to more convenient dates, negotiate better plea bargains with the prosecuting attorneys, and make sure you are not taken advantage of.
If you plan on pleading guilty, probably the most important service a lawyer can do for you is make sure you get the best possible plea bargain, considering the facts of your case. I can help make sure the fines, probation, or jail time, if any, are reasonable and appropriate for your case in the event you decide to plead guilty to the charges, Without a lawyer you have no real idea of what makes a plea bargain a good deal or a bad one.
I get to see your case file.
When you get to court, there will probably be 50 to 100 other people there. Because the prosecutors cannot watch that many people all at once, they will not let each person have access to his or her file. That means if you negotiate your own plea, you will have to do so without even seeing the case against you! The prosecutors will let me look at your case for you, and I know what to look for.
I can spend more time with your case.
At most, court will be in session for about three and one-half hours. That’s a maximum of 210 minutes to deal with 100 to 300 people. If you are lucky, you will get about four minutes to listen to and talk to the prosecutor about your case.
How can you possibly tell your side of the story and negotiate a good plea in four minutes? You can’t. However, I can set up an appointment to go to the prosecutor’s office and talk at length about your case. Again because there are so many defendants, you will not get that opportunity. Only by hiring a lawyer will the prosecutor have time to listen to your individual case.
My experience gives me perspective on your case.
Even though you may have spoken with friends, family, and co-workers who say they have “been there before,” you will never know all the factors that go into making sure you get a good plea offer. It is only through my careful study my experience in handling many criminal cases that I have developed the feel for what facts makes a “good” case or a “bad” case.
Judges and Prosecutors.
Judges and Prosecutors are people, and they each have their opinions and beliefs about the cases before them. Being that I have had the opportunity to become familiar with Judges and Prosecutors, I know how to negotiate with them. Just because your buddy was offered one plea by one Prosecutor, does not mean that you have to settle for the same plea or that the same deal will be offered to you. The Prosecutor assigned to your case may be more likely to bargain, but how would you know that?
I know the law.
The lawyers code of ethics prohibits a Prosecutor from prosecuting a case where there is no probable cause to support the charge. However, probable cause is a slippery concept, and as long as there is even a hint of probable cause, the Prosecutor can, and likely will prosecute you.
If you hire me to represent you, I will review your case file to see if the case is even prosecutable. You may be one of the lucky few whose case is defective. In rare instances, your case may be dismissed altogether, but at the very least, knowing whether there is something wrong with the case gives you a much stronger negotiating position. Unfortunately, unless you are a legal or Constitutional scholar, you will never be able to recognize some of the technical problems with the prosecution’s case.
Lastly, there are the incidentals.
There are many things that you either cannot do without a lawyer, or can’t do as easily. For example, because of the sheer number of cases that a court handles, it can be difficult to get your case reset if an emergency comes up. Furthermore, even if you do eventually get your case reset, it can be maddening trying to find the right person to talk to, to get it done. Again, because I am familiar with the courthouse, I can help smooth out the process for you.
Why you should consider hiring a lawyer
If you have decided to hire a lawyer, you should consider hiring a lawyer immediately for the following reasons:
- Depending of the facts of your case, important evidence could be destroyed or crucial witnesses could leave the area with no forwarding address;
- The sooner a lawyer is “on the case,” the sooner important negotiations with the prosecutor can take place, such as, possibly reaching an agreement for the filing of lesser charges, or your presentation of alibi witnesses or exculpatory evidence, if any, that might prevent the case from being indicted by a Grand Jury, or;
- Some newspapers print the names of persons recently indicted by a Grand Jury. If you have decided to seek a plea bargain and plead guilty, then your lawyer could try to seek an agreement with the prosecutor to waive Grand Jury indictment and proceed with the filing of criminal charges by means other than indictment. This might prevent your name from being printed in the newspaper under a heading such as- “Recent Grand Jury Indictments”.
SO WHAT IS ALL THIS GOING TO COST?
I charge between $500 and $1,500 to negotiate a plea on a misdemeanor criminal charge and $1000 and up for a felony charge depending on the complexity of the case. A misdemeanor criminal trial will cost between $1,500 and $5,000 depending on the anticipated length of the trial and the complexity of the case. Felony trials are unique, but ordinarily I will not take a felony case to trial for less than $5,000. Prices are discounted for multiple cases, and we also accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express. While this may seem like a lot of money, you must consider that a class A misdemeanor can cost you up to $4,000 in fines and a class B misdemeanor can cost up to $2,000 in fines alone. That doesn’t even account for court costs, probation fees, court-ordered classes, and lost time from work. In almost every case, I may be able to save you some money in fines, time spent paying probation fees, and time spent away from work doing community service. Consider for yourself whether you may actually save money by hiring a lawyer.
If after reading this and you agree that hiring a lawyer could be a big benefit to you, and if you don’t already have a lawyer please feel free to call me so that I can begin working on your case immediately. Whether you are pleading not guilty and desire a jury trial or are pleading guilty and desire a plea bargain, I will work hard on your case to help you receive the fair treatment that you deserve. Office visits are by appointment only. You may also visit the “Contact us” and send an email to me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this I hope to hear from you soon.
Benton Baker IV