But I am Innocent!
Everyone needs an attorney, guilty or innocent. In fact, innocent people need a lawyer more because a jury may not automatically find them not guilty.
This is the question that we are asked the most. Simply put, if you have to ask the question then you DO need to speak to an attorney. Finding out if you actually need legal representation is one of the main reasons to consult with an attorney. Even if you think that you are “guilty” you must see an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.
I received a call from a women this morning to told me that two nights ago, she went drinking with her friends and took an UBER. She said that the did not remember very much at all. She said that after they returned to her friend’s house in the UBER she decided to dive home. Just a few blocks from her friends home, and on a major thoroughfare, she fell asleep at a stop light and was found there by the police. For some reason she was charged with a Penal Code violation of Section 148(a), Resisting/delaying/obstructing a police officer, but she has no memory of what happened. We also discovered that she refused to submit to a chemical test (VERY wrong decision-I can beat numbers, but “refusals” are much tougher). Her primary question is if she needed a lawyer or not. She was drunk in her car, sleeping. She got into it with the cops and we don’t know how bad it is and she gave a chemical test refusal that carries all sorts of extra fines and penalties. Her goal is to avoid jail. She wanted to know if she NEEDED an attorney. The oblivious answer is YES! Even if you know that you are going down for a crime, a good criminal defense attorney an lessen the penalties, charges, fines and time. Without this professional assistance, you might just fall into the “DA Trap”; an unrepresentative litigant who is willing to jump into the legal swimming pool without checking if the pool is full or not. YES! She need a criminal defense professional to keep her out of jail and to minimize the damages she has a done to her life. Yes, she will lose her (honest, remember?) but I can keep her out of jail and reduce the time out of her car as much as possible, and more importantly I can review the police report for the rare error and I can walk her through their case, working with her long after her case is finished, making sure that she understand and executed the complicated list of things the court is going to require that she must do.
An attorney can provide valuable assistance even if you think that you are guilty. A knowledgeable attorney knows what punishment you should be given for your conduct. Without seeing an attorney you run the risk of being punished too harshly for your wrongful acts.
Your attorney will make sure that you understand your sentence and will help you through the complex process of complying with the requirements placed on you by the court.
The criminal justice system is a lot like fishing. When you fish with a net you often get fish that you are not trying to catch, ones that do not belong in the net. When you are fishing there are people who watch the net and throw the wrong fish back into the sea. Our justice system does not afford defendants the same protection as we give to fish. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system does not have a person who decides which fish are rightfully caught and which fish should be tossed back into the water.
The District Attorney has a position known as the “charging DA.” This person’s job is to look for those cases where the defendant was wrongly caught in the net of justice. The police are supposed to make an evaluation of any arrest, and the facts connected with this arrest, before sending the case to the District Attorney for prosecution. The system fails because the police are taught that they do not have to worry if a case should be sent to the DA for charging because the DA will review the case file before filing a Complaint. The District Attorney is told that the police are evaluating all cases before they are sent to the DA’s office so the DA need not worry about the validity of the charge; they just file away.
This causes cases not to be reviewed and even the most obviously inappropriate cases are charged.
The safeguard of justice has failed!
Shawn C. Mills, Attorney at Law #189893
MONTEREY CRIMINAL DEFENSE SERVICES
702 Forest Avenue, Suite A
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 372-3000 or