If you have diligently read the entire book up to here, congratulations. You are now much less likely to make a costly mistake during your arrest; you understand the stakes of your post-arrest actions, and you have guidelines for accepting a plea that will result in better sentencing options.
Nevertheless, all these options and outcomes are situational and dependent on one crucial factor: you will need a strong and knowledgeable lawyer on your side. While it is your legal right to represent yourself, every judge in the country can tell you why that is a terrible idea. You would simply be setting yourself up to fail and will end up making costly mistakes and missing valuable opportunities.
Even the worst court-appointed and forgetful attorney is better than none. If only because you could use incompetent representation as grounds for an appeal! But ideally, you will want to find a competent and helpful attorney who will be able to get you the best outcome from the start. So, to close up this book, we will end with the most important decision you have to make during these most important and stressful times: choosing your defense attorney.
Red Flags: What To Avoid When Hiring A Defense Attorney
The truth is that most attorneys will do a reasonably good job. As long as you avoid a truly disastrous choice, you will end up with competent representation. And with this list of red flags, you should be able to steer clear of the worst-case scenarios.
- Zero Criminal Defense Experience. It is probably pretty obvious, but you want an attorney with experience in criminal defense, both in and out of the courtroom. Your trusted family estate planning attorney or next-door neighbor who does real estate law might seem like convenient choices, but they might cost you far more than you’d save.
- Out Of Town Attorney. It is important to have a lawyer who is as familiar as possible with the prosecutors, judges, and courtroom staff they will be interacting with during your case. A local attorney will have an edge over a big name from out of town, especially when negotiating a generous plea deal.
- No Communication. If all an attorney ever tells you is, “Don’t worry, everything is fine!” whenever you try to talk, you should be very worried. Communication between attorney and client is vital to ensuring an outcome you can be satisfied with. Not only should your attorney be answering you, but they should be actively contacting you, keeping you updated, and working with you regularly to improve your case and outcome.
- All Good News, Never Any Bad. In Chapter 3, we discussed how important it is for you to be honest with your attorney; well, the same is true for your attorney. If your attorney is not being honest about the costs as well as the benefits of an outcome, if they are constantly telling you they know what is best without explaining why, or if their predictions are always too good to be true, it is time to get a second opinion, just in case.
Ultimately, as long as they are not sending up red flags, your chances of getting decent representation are good. But you deserve more than decent representation. Everyone deserves an attorney who will go out of their way to ensure you know your rights and options.
Perhaps even someone who would write a whole book just to help a stranger through one of the toughest moments of their life just because it is the right thing to do?
What You Can Expect From Me And My Firm: The DC Nguyen Commitment
There is a reason I want you to memorize my phone number, and no, it is not (just) so I can have more cases. It is also because it represents my guiding philosophy: clear, constant, and honest communication.
No lawyer can promise you a given outcome – and anyone who does is already lying to you. What I can promise you if you hire me, however, is that I will be available, responsive, and proactive in communicating throughout this extremely trying time. By phone, email, or even text message, I always endeavor to keep you up to date, answer your questions, and fight injustice with honesty and clarity.
What I learned, both growing up in the projects and working as a public defender, is that ignorance is at the heart of so much of the world’s injustice. Whether it is through this book or by communicating regularly and constructively with each and every one of my clients, I aim to fight that ignorance and make the criminal justice system in Washington that much fairer and more accessible.
When You Only Get One Phone Call, Make It Count
At the end of the day, it is your life on the line, your future at stake. All I can do without knowing more about your case is try to give you and every person who reads this book back a measure of power and control over your fate by helping you understand the criminal justice system and your options before, during, and after an arrest.
But if you give me a call and choose to hire DC Nguyen Law to handle your criminal defense, then I can do a whole lot more. So read this book, remember what you have learned about your rights and options, and if you can, memorize that number. You might never need it, and I sincerely hope you do not. But the day you or a loved one gets arrested, these ten digits could make all the difference. (425) 276-7390.
For more information on Alternative Sentencing In A Criminal Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 276-7390 today.