Most law-abiding citizens don’t have much experience with being accused of a crime. Most of what they know about the process is inaccurate. They’ve watched Law and Order or CSI, and have entered fictional worlds where the cops are never wrong, prosecutors never move forward unless they’re sure they’ve got their guy, and the world is made safer every night because “our justice system works.”
People who have been accused of a crime, especially people who are innocent, know better. Here are five things you’ll learn if you’re unlucky enough to be one of them.
“Guilty until proven innocent” is often the reality.
It’s only “innocent until proven guilty” on paper. Once someone leads you away in handcuffs many people in your community, family, and immediate circle of friends will assume you did it. Everyone else watches CSI too, and the myth of police infallibility continues.
This means you have an uphill battle ahead of you with the jury, who suffers from the same biases. If you can’t get an attorney who will lay out the facts of your case in a clear-cut, irrefutable, strong way you may never convince them you shouldn’t be behind bars.
Some judges are more interested than being seen as “tough on crime” than in being impartial.
This means many of them will also err on the side of favoring the prosecution. This isn’t insurmountable, but again, you need a talented criminal defense lawyer on your side to navigate around the problem.
A lawyer who has a lot of experience also knows a lot about the judges themselves: where their biases and blind spots are, what they’ll tolerate and what they won’t. This insider knowledge can be invaluable, and can make all the difference in the world to the success or failure of your case.
Prosecutors care more about whether they can build a case than whether you’re innocent.
“Innocence” is almost meaningless to them. They’re judged on convictions. If they can build a good case, they’re going to take their shot. Maybe they get a plea bargain, which works in their favor too.
A prosecutor is almost never going to say, “Oh wow, Mr. Jones, we really made a mistake here. We’re sorry. We’re dropping the charges.” If they can make any kind of a case against you, no matter how spurious, they’re going to do it.
Prosecutors have been known to cheat.
In fact, some see it as their duty to cheat. And judges who have called for tougher sanctions on prosecutorial misconduct have found themselves dealing with a lot of pushback. The issue is pervasive. Wrongful convictions happen all the time.
Last year more exonerations were served up as a result of this problem than in any other year. If you’re trusting your freedom to your innocence, your trust is misplaced.
The only way you’re going to survive is with a lawyer who knows all their dirty tricks and who is capable of exposing those tricks to the courtroom in a way that disarms them.
You never get paid back for time served.
If you’ve got a public defender you could spend a long time waiting for your day in court just because the PD has too many cases. If you can’t post bail, or your bail hearing is delayed, all that time will be spent in jail. If you are wrongfully convicted you will also spend that time in jail. You may be exonerated later, but you can’t get those years back. There’s no “sorry we took your life” fund. You’ll have lost time with your family, fallen behind in your career, and missed out on a whole lot of life.
Which is why investing in our services is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being accused of a crime is tough. Getting convicted is even tougher. Every investment you make into improving your chances of an acquittal is a better investment than any money you’ve ever put into buying a home or securing a student loan. If you’re in trouble, call us. You’re fighting for your life right now. You can worry about everything else later.