An experienced criminal lawyer should always negotiate with prosecutors at the beginning of the case. Because it is a low cost way to possibly achieve client goals with savings in time, money and anxiety. 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?
The only way to succeed in such a situation is to “out-think, out-imagine, out-investigate, out-research, and out-prepare the adversary.” This is the only way to either beat the case at trial or persuade prosecutors 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. There are few things more professionally satisfying to the criminal defense lawyer than finding a piece of evidence that radically levels the playing field. It always either provides a powerful bargaining chip or can even bust the case wide open.
Offense, Not Defense
The success of a criminal case can often be traced back to intelligent offense undertaken in the beginning of the case. I'll illustrate this concept with a story. The facts 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 early option.
We had to either win the case at trial or get a good offer. Immediately we went on the offense to secure everything from text messages to phone 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 many 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 there is a video? Or, what if the person accusing you has a crime of dishonesty or violence in their past? Or maybe there is a brand new legal opinion that, applied to your case, can be used to get charges dismissed.
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Strong pretrial investigation is the foundation of both effective negotiating and winning at trial. When the stakes are high, the alert 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 success 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.
Call me at 312.396.4112 or reach me online to get help now.