Criminal Case Considerations
from the desk of Eric Jensen, Attorney At Law
(Read info on criminal cases on Home Page)

Consider Eric Jensen's 28 Year Experience
No lawyer can promise a particular result in a case.

Promises Particular Results

The lawyer who promises a particular result in a criminal case is either a liar or a fool. You do not want to be represented by either one.

No lawyer, no matter how good, is in a position to promise a particular result in a criminal case. Lawyers can promise to do their best. Lawyers can believe in the quality of a case. Lawyers can believe they will probably be able to get a particular result. But a competent lawyer will never guarantee a particular result.

Not being willing to guarantee a result is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of experience and wisdom. The problem is that the bottom line result is ultimately in the hands of other people NOT THE LAWYER.

A judge and/or a prosecutor or a jury must act in order to resolve any criminal case. It is impossible to guarantee the actions of other people. Judges have been known to make mistakes. Juries get hung out to dry by overzealous prosecutors guided not by law, facts or victim wishes, but by their own selfish, political desires. 

Prosecutors have been known to make mistakes. Juries have been known to make mistakes. Therefore, a competent lawyer will never be able guarantee a particular result.

Quick Dismissal

Be especially careful when someone tells you that she, or he, thinks they can get the case dismissed, or the case should be dismissed, or they can't believe the case isn't dismissed already.

When a lawyer starts talking about dismissal in an initial consultation, you need to be very careful. You may well be being told simply what you want to hear.

CASES ARE VERY RARELY SIMPLY DISMISSED BECAUSE THE PROSECUTOR HAS BEEN CONVINCED OF YOUR INNOCENCE. Cases are dismissed or reduced for a variety of issues, lack of proof, witnesses disappearing or refusing to testify, incredible witnesses who can't be trusted on the stand.

The meetings between defendants, attorneys and DA's you see on TV in cop shows are nonsense. Dismissals are rare and the lawyer who promises a quick dismissal is behaving recklessly at best.

Ask For Bold Promises In Writing

There is a quick way to disarm the lawyer who makes bold claims about dismissals, getting people out of jail, or anything else in an initial consultation.

Simply request that if you retain them, you would like whatever it is they are claiming to be reduced to writing and that you would like a written fee agreement to reflect that if they do not achieve the claimed result, you will get ALL YOUR MONEY BACK.

If you ask for such a written promise of the lawyer's bold statements (and especially if you tie the promise to the fee), you will likely be met with hostility and double-talk. That should tell you something. That should tell you that you should look elsewhere for a lawyer.

Use Common Sense

The more dramatic the claim, the more likely it is to be either a lie or ridiculously reckless.

Try to avoid being satisfied just with what you want to hear. Does it really make sense to you that your son's drug trafficking case is going to be dropped because of a conversation your potential attorney is going to have with the ADA in Court the first time on after arraignments ?

The same rule of thumb that makes you suspicious of get rich quick schemes pitched on infomercials on TV ought to make you suspicious of bold claims about what a lawyer is going to be able to achieve on a particular case.