All criminal cases require sound legal advice and representation, because the legal outcome of a conviction may have dire consequences including, but not limited to:
- infringements upon your right to enjoy the freedoms of liberty (including living at home with loved ones, and not behind bars);
- loss of property (excessive fines and penalties);
- the right to own or possess firearms;
- the right to vote and sit on a jury;
- the right to work as a licensed professional;
- the right to remain in this country, or enter this country should you leave;
- the right to have custody of, or visitation with, your children;
- the ability to seek employment in law enforcement or other regulated fields;
- the ability to contract with governmental entities;
- the right to have unfettered access to loved ones; and
- the right to drive a motorized vehicle.
I am appalled, indeed disgusted, to learn that some attorneys have their clients fill out guilty plea and plea bargain forms at the beginning of the case, without ever having investigated anything about the case or the individual who is paying for and seeking help. That is outrageous, and it sends a message that the attorney is focusing on fighting the client to plead guilty, instead of fighting the government to maximize benefits for the client. The karma of starting out a relationship with thoughts of pleading guilty can carry through the case, and it more often than not will result in a client who has paid a lot of money for competent and effective and aggressive efforts on his behalf being tricked or cajoled into pleading guilty. If your new attorney starts out having you sign a guilty plea form ["to carry around, just in case," or whatever the rationalization], run screaming from his office and seek out someone who starts out in your corner and stays there..., like I do.