Is The Punishment Harsher If Someone Is Convicted At Trial Instead Of A Guilty Plea?
A criminal defendant is not supposed to receive a harsher or longer sentence simply for exercising their Constitutional right to a jury trial. But once a jury returns a conviction, the Court has full discretion to sentence within the ranges afforded to each conviction. Some convictions can carry probation with no jail, probation with jail, or prison. It’s unspoken, but both sides believe that the Court will at least consider what the prosecutor’s last offer was before the trial.
Also, after trial, certain convictions, prior convictions, and/or enhancements can carry mandatory punishments that the Court does not have discretion with. Some prior convictions if found true by the jury require sending the defendant to prison. Some enhancements can carry a mandatory prison term.
How Important Is Your Consultation With The Client On Taking The Case To Trial?
A consultation with the client about taking the case to trial is extremely important. It’s vital to communicate with your clients. I will answer all of my clients’ questions over and over again until they fully understand. The last thing defense attorneys want is for the client to turn around and blame us for not explaining the trial process. Or for a client to misunderstand you then plead to something that has negative collateral consequences or something they didn’t expect. I will go out of my way to meet with people to make sure that they fully understand everything, which is tough sometimes because the law can be complex and confusing. But, that’s what we’re here for as attorneys to break this stuff down so that people are able to understand the law and it’s sentencing consequences.
You want to hire an attorney who knows the county, the judges, and the DA’s. Basically, you want someone who knows how that DA office is dealing with certain cases, how certain cases typically settle, how far you can push certain cases to trial, when the DA’s will bend on certain issues, and how to get clients into certain specialty courts.
If your county has a crime lab, you want to know as much as you can about the lab’s personnel. It is important to know when personnel have left or have gotten fired. It’s really good to know about the testing protocol on their equipment. For instance, in San Francisco, the toxicology lab for the blood samples only tests for alcohol ethanol, but for alcohol, they actually send out the samples to an out-of-state lab in Pennsylvania to do the drug screen. So, that brings up a host of issues. The more experienced you are, and the more issues you can see, the more layers of defense you can offer your client.
Well, those some of the myriads of an experienced and well-versed attorney should know and consider for your case.
How Does Your Personality, Experience And Approach Help In Handling Drug Cases?
I was San Francisco Public Defender from 2001-2006. In 2006, I set up my current law office. I’m in the profession to help people. I like to hear people’s stories and backgrounds. I’m interested in how they got to where they are. I’m certainly in this to help individuals, and I enjoy taking on the government. I like standing up to the police and law enforcement. I enjoy defending individual’s liberties and their Constitutional rights.
Personally, I know most of the judges on the bench in San Francisco and San Mateo as well as most of the DA’s. I know many of the police officers. I actually have many individual police officers who refer me cases for their friends and family. I’ve even had police officers that I’ve gone toe to toe with and cross-examined them then end up calling me later on asking for my legal help. They appreciated my professionalism and wanted that type of representation for either their family or friends.
That’s the ultimate compliment. I pride myself on having a very good rapport with my clients and good relationships with them. Often, we need to re-orientate clients to what it’s like to be prosecuted.
I keep up on the law, and I know that to be a good attorney it takes a lot of different, various skills. You have to be a good communicator and be able to interact well with all types of people: from judges to the prosecutors, the police officers, and of course, to your clients.
For more information on Punishment When Found Guilty At Trial, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 484-0906 today.