Help Me, Help you – How You Can Help Your Criminal Case
Walk into any criminal courtroom and you will see hundreds of flat, lifeless, 8 x 11 inch file folders. Inside you will find charging instruments, offense reports, witness statements, criminal histories, CDs, DVDs, and other evidence submitted by state agencies attempting to link persons to a crime. To many prosecutors, tirelessly shifting through mounds of paper, the accused is nothing more than a 8 X 11 inch file folder. It is the criminal defense attorney’s job, with your help, to shape that lifeless file into a living, breathing, three-dimensional human being.
So what can you do to help your criminal case? Start by:
- Hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney.
- Not committing another crime while out on bond or violating any bond conditions (e.g. dirty drug test). Few things anger courts more.
- Showing up to Court on time and in proper attire. Court staff takes note of their audience.
- Providing names of witnesses who can give their account of what actually happened on the alleged crime date. (e.g. sobriety witnesses for a DWI, family members for an assault, etc).
- Giving your lawyer proof of employment and/or school transcripts. Prosecutors and judges want to know what your current and future plans are.
- Obtaining character letters from people who know the real you. The character letter should be one page. The first paragraph should identify who the writer is, where they live, and how they are employed. The second paragraph should describe how they know you, how long they have known you, and opportunities to observe you for relevant character traits (e.g. drinking habits, honesty, etc.). The third paragraph should explain specific instances of good character. The fourth paragraph should provide the writer is aware of the criminal charges and that such behaivior is out of character. Lastly, the writer’s should include their contact information.
- Tracking down records of your medical history.
- Providing honors, awards, or achievements earned in the community. If you served and received an honorable discharge, provide your attorney with proof of such.
- Attending relevant classes (e.g. substance abuse class or AA for drug and alcohol charges, theft class for theft charges, anger management class for assault charges).
- Understanding prosecutors will look at your social media accounts, such as Facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. Pictures of you partying aren’t going to help your DWI case.
- Emailing your lawyer a picture of you with your family (i.e. the new face for the 8 x 11 file).
With the tools above your attorney can breath life into your file and obtain the best possible result.