The first area of importance for an Arlington criminal lawyer is having open communication with each and every client. Our attorneys try to be open and keep our clients informed throughout the legal process. In return, we hope they tell us everything about the case so that we can make the best decision for them.
We also want to be accessible. Every one of our attorneys has cell phones with us all the time and we try to answer immediately or return calls as soon as possible after we have missed them.
When it comes to court, the guiding principle is to always fight for the best possible decision for our client. With experience as prosecutors, we utilize that knowledge to make effective decisions at the court whether it be asking for the best possible plea deal or whether it is finding a loophole, whether it is finding something that the police have done wrong or some weakness in the prosecution’s case that can work to your benefit.
The very first question an attorney will ask during the intake process is how the police got involved in your life, or why you are looking for an attorney. As a criminal lawyer, we want to understand the elements of the case, what charges you are facing, and how the situation took place.
Once these things are established, the next question will be what your goals are for getting through this situation. While this doesn’t necessarily mean a better outcome can’t be achieved, this at least provides an idea of what we are working for. An experienced attorney will also be upfront about whether these goals are reasonable.
On this note as well, it is important to consider the collateral consequences such as if the client has a security clearance, or is worried about employment or their immigration status. An attorney will be able to honestly tell them what they are facing and guide them through the process as successfully as possible.
One of the most common questions our defense attorneys get is about what the strategy is going to be for an individual’s case. Unfortunately, there is no set answer as every case is unique and features a different type of defense strategy. Until the defense attorney has an opportunity to look at the prosecutor’s file, get all the information from the client, and discuss potential defenses the strategy cannot be specifically identified. However, in addition to this, it is important for an experienced attorney to speak to the prosecutor and see if they can give any offer. If there is an offer we will discuss that fully with our clients so that they are aware of what that offer means to them and then we will make an informed decision about whether or not we will take that offer.
Another question that we often get is for us to put a probability on the likelihood of success or asking for a percentage. Once again that question is something that is very difficult to answer on a broad sense. It is a case by case basis. There is no way to say and we stay away from giving percentages and any way difficult to predict when you are dealing with a judge, prosecutors and there are so many parts that can affect the outcomes. In fact, guaranteeing an outcome is actually considered unethical under the Virginia rules of ethics for attorneys.
With that said, we do try to give realistic outcomes, realistic expectations. We try to lay out what the prosecutor’s arguments would be, what the judge will be thinking and what we are working on and try to give you all the information so that you can make the best possible decision about your case.