In Part One of "How to Lose Your Criminal Case in 3 Easy Steps," we discussed how important it is to hire a criminal defense lawyer that can help you navigate the court system will avoiding critical errors that can cost you your case.
Take advantage of free consultations to find a lawyer you trust and with whom you feel comfortable, and do not make decisions based solely on cost--the least expensive lawyer may not have the experience or skill necessary to successfully handle your case, and the most expensive lawyer may be too busy to give you the individual attention you need or may be trying to take advantage of your fears to overcharge you.
Give careful consideration to an attorneys record of success when choosing a lawyer. Hiring a defense attorney is only the first step in a complex legal process, however. It is not too late to really screw up your case, which brings us to number two in the top three ways to lose your criminal case:
2. Ignore your lawyer.
Having a lawyer is not enough. You need to trust your lawyer and listen to his counsel. Do a quick internet search of "mistakes criminal defendants make," and you'll find dozens of mistakes including appearance (body language, attire, and courtroom demeanor), actions (talking about your case, conducting your own investigation, lying to your lawyer), and attitudes (not knowing what to expect, insisting on things be done a certain way, failing to recognize the seriousness of your charge, denying the reality of a particular situation).
Virtually all of these mistakes come down to one simple factor: ignoring the lawyer you have hired to defend you. A criminal defense lawyer is a seasoned professional who talks with police, prosecutors, and judges on a daily basis. He knows the inner workings of the justice system, and he is familiar with the attitudes of the courts. Just as it is important to find a lawyer who will listen to you, it is important that you listen to your lawyer.
He should tell you what to expect from the court process and give you a reasonable idea of what to expect for your results. While your lawyer should not pressure you into decisions about your case, he should offer the most reasonable solution based on the evidence against you, the likelihood of conviction, and the sentencing options available. He should never guarantee a win, but he should be willing to fight against wrongful conviction.
If you ignore your attorney by failing to act appropriately before a judge and/or jury; by talking to police or anyone else about your case against the advice of your lawyer; by lying to your lawyer; or by insisting that your way is best despite your lawyer's expertise in the field of criminal defense, you are not only throwing away the money you spent on hiring a lawyer, but also throwing away your case.
To get your case off on a solid foundation, you now know you need to hire a lawyer and actually use him. Even if you do these two things, you can still manage to lose a perfectly winnable case. Read our next blog entry to find out the easiest way to lose your criminal case.