ANN ARBOR, MI - 05/18/2018 — As a criminal defense attorney, I generally get a couple common questions from potential clients who call me. Here are my answers to two of the most common questions:
What Results Can You Guarantee Me?
No criminal defense lawyer should promise a certain result. Every case is unique. Generally, at the time of first phone call, I don’t know enough about the situation to make an evaluation about the case.
Often a client doesn’t even know what the exact charges in the case are. The first step is for me to find out the exact charges. I need to learn details about the situation. It’s also important for me to learn about the potential client is as an individual. Then, I need to review any evidence the prosecution may have regarding the case.
Lastly, the world of criminal defense has its curveballs, which makes it difficult to predict the future. Even where I am reasonably certain of an outcome, you never really know. Things can happen between the start of the case and the end of the case that could affect the outcome.
A good criminal defense attorney who takes a call from a potential client will under-promise but overdeliver. Many potential clients want to hear that their case will be dismissed before we even go to Court. This is mostly an unreasonable expectation, and potential clients need to hear this. While I tell potential clients when their expectations are unreasonable, I do reassure them I will do everything possible to get those results.
At the time of the first phone call, I am far from able to guarantee any results – if I am willing to guarantee any results at all.
Are You Close with The Judge?
Many potential clients will ask if the lawyer is close with the judge. The unspoken message here is that a lawyer who is close to the judge will have some influence that will help the client.
Under the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are prohibited from telling clients they have influence with the judge. I always explain this rule to the potential client.
Any potential client who asks this question and receives an affirmative answer should run fast from the attorney. This is a big red flag. This answer would signal the attorney’s willingness to breach an ethical code simply to sign up a client. Potential clients don’t know this rule when they ask, of course, so it’s not their fault when the ask the question.
I also always answer the question honestly: The judges don’t like because I make their jobs harder when I fight for my clients!
About the Author
Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His practice focuses on DUIs, domestic violence, drug crimes, and traffic violations. Get in touch with Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
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