I’m a practicing criminal lawyer. Have been for several years now. And there is one thing that I’ve noticed that sets apart the really good attorneys from the mediocre or not so good ones – the good ones are always ready to take a case to trial. Why does that make them good? Well, keep reading to find out.
Despite what you may believe, most criminal cases don’t go to trial. It’s a lot less like Law and Order than you might think. What typically happens is a case is charged, the prosecutors make an offer, and a compromise is reached where the defendant is punished but to a degree that both sides can live with. Cases typically go to trial either when the prosecutor won’t agree to a reasonable deal or when the client stands by his innocence. I’d say that’s maybe 1 in 50 cases.
But here’s the thing: when you are hired, you never know which one might be that one in fifty. To be a good Seattle criminal lawyer, like I am, you have to be ready to take every case to trial, just in case it is that one. You also have to be ready because if the prosecutors know you aren’t ready and know you don’t want to go to trial, you’ll get an offer that reflects that. In the past, it was who you knew that got you a good deal. These days it’s how hard you work.
That means that if you ever need a criminal lawyer, don’t sign up with the guy that’s going to charge you more for trial. The only reason he’s charging you more is because at that point he’s actually going to have to work for you. If you hire someone who’s fee takes care of everything you can be rest assured they are going to prepare like it might go to trial – that’s what you are paying for.
In the end, if you are in trouble with the law, your case probably won’t go to trial. If your attorney does his job, though, if you do need trial, at least you’ll know there are no other options.