Beat Your Case

An experienced Chicago criminal lawyer should always negotiate with prosecutors at the beginning of your case. There is simply no reason not to at least attempt negotiations; it is a low cost way to possibly achieve the Client's goals without putting you through the time, money and anxiety of fighting the case. Read my guide on Your Settlement Options for a detailed look at this strategy.

But what if negotiations are unsuccessful? Maybe you are charged with a “serious” felony like armed robbery, sexual assault or selling drugs. Or, maybe an offer is on the table, but it contains personal “deal-breakers” like requiring you to plead guilty and admit fault.

The cold fact is that negotiations do not always work and you may be forced to fight. And, at the beginning of a case, everything looks like it favors the prosecution. 

So what do you do?

You rise to the challenge. The only way to succeed in such a scenario is if your lawyer is willing and able to “out-think, out-imagine, out-investigate, out-research, and out-prepare his adversary.” This is the only way to either beat the case at trial, or, persuade the prosecution to make a better offer, one that you can accept.

The bottom line is that preparation and investigation out of court are the best guarantees of success in court. Personally speaking, there is nothing more professionally satisfying than finding something that radically levels the playing field, provides a powerful bargaining chip or that even busts the case wide open.

Offense, Not Defense

The beginning of a criminal case is no time to play defense. The beginning is all about offense. I’ll illustrate this concept with a story based on a previous case I handled. The facts of the story may not be identical to yours, but an important common thread applies to your case.

I once represented a young man accused of sexual assault. He met a girl online and she invited him to her home at 2 a.m. for their first “date”. The two had sex and everything seemed fine at first but she later accused him of rape. We knew, due to the nature of the charges (sexual assault or “date rape” is a Class X felony punishable by 6-30 years) that settlement with prosecutors was just not going be an option.

We had to either win the case at trial or get a good offer. Immediately we went on the offense to subpoena and preserve everything from text message evidence to phone company data to social media activity and many other types of evidence. Ultimately our early offense was fruitful and we uncovered several pieces of evidence proving that the sex was totally consensual. Charges were dismissed.

The evidence is always different, but the point is that there may be similar hidden gems in your case. But… you have to look! The sad truth is that most of these opportunities go unused due to lack of vigorous pretrial investigation.

Maybe you are facing a battery charge and pleading guilty is not an option. What if the person accusing you has a crime of dishonesty or violence in their past? This is a powerful weapon in your defense; you might be surprised at how often shining the light on your accuser yields a rich harvest of powerful evidence.

Or, maybe it’s a video showing that the police didn’t arrest you the way they say they did or proving that he hit you first.

It could be a brand new legal opinion that, if applied with the proper imagination to your case, can be used to fuel a vigorous pretrial motion that poses just enough of a threat to force a better offer. Strong pretrial motion practice is limited only by the law and the lawyer’s imagination. 

Let’s Have a Conversation

Strong pretrial investigation is the foundation of both effective negotiating and winning at trial. When the stakes are high, the alert Chicago criminal lawyer should have a plan to seek and secure any outside evidence that can help achieve your goals. Combined with aggressive pretrial motion practice, there is no better way to achieve your goals in a criminal case.

Whether you know negotiating won’t be an option in your case or just want to make sure you put up the strongest front to secure the best deal, you should know what the plan is before you hire anyone.

I, Chris M. Shepherd, offer a free and confidential 15-minute consultation. Call me at 312.396.4112 or reach me online to get help now.

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