The Real Story of Criminal Defen$e

I was quite struck by a recent set of articles in the Arkansas Times.  The premise was that anonymous folks from different industries gave the “real story” behind their day to day.  After reading about what it is like to perform beauty waxes, I naturally honed in on the impressions offered by the Criminal Defense Attorney.

While I last read this piece weeks ago, I can go off of memory to some degree.  The author postulated that there are different tiers of criminal defense attorneys – perhaps we could compare them to brands of cars.  He or she further went on to explain how it matters when you choose one.  I can explain it easier than in the article – “some attorneys do more than others to look after your well-being.”  

There are folks that charge high dollar; there are folks that charge a fraction of said high dollar.  Do all these prices make sense?  No, not always.  Part of it matters, though, just hear me out.  I get a lot of calls from “shoppers” seeking the lowest price on their matter.  I can tell who they are right away.  I often inform them that if they want the cheapest attorney, they should hire a public defender.  Invariably if they call and call others, they will find folks that offer their services for cheaper than my firm.  What are these services exactly?

The prosecutor takes pride in their job, and they do not want to let folks off easily.  When the prosecutor can tell your attorney is not willing to go to trial, guess what happens to your offer?  I cannot tell you how many times “the offer” miraculously improved after I showed up fully prepared for trial.  Likewise, following through with the trial – though it carries substantial risks and is NOT easy – is sometimes the clearest, best option.  Your budget attorney frankly doesn’t give a damn, my dear.  There are countless other areas throughout your entire case that taking the “cheap way out” can and does end up costing you years.  I do not mean the most expensive is the best, but consider this:  if I know a medium level felony case will take me a minimum of 15 hours and Mr. Budget thinks he can take care of it in 2….. it makes sense he will charge less….. but what will he really do for you?

Finally, even with top notch representation there are people that will go to jail based on their charges.    If you confessed on camera after receiving your Miranda rights on the same camera, then tell your attorney immediately.  If you confessed to everything on a signed statement that the police have, then tell your attorney.  We do not have a magic wand, and there are limitations to what we can do.  (Confessions can be suppressed, but the vast majority of them are not.  So if you are relying on confession suppression, that is less than ideal.)  Your job as a client is to keep quiet, except with regard to your attorney.  Were I wrongly charged with any crime, I would do the same.


Seth L. Bowman

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