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Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers: Expectation vs. Reality


7/29/2019

Television shows and movies are full of lawyers winning sensationalized cases that are seemingly impossible. Those cases, both real and fictitious, are much more entertaining than a lawyer whose client has no choice but to accept a plea agreement. Unfortunately, what is portrayed in the media causes many people to have fairly unrealistic expectations when they hire an attorney.

At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, we know that the reality of your case may fall short of the glamorous expectations portrayed in the media. However, we believe that every criminal defendant is entitled to dedicated, aggressive legal representation. If you have been charged with a crime in the Philadelphia metro area, criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer can help you get a fair result. If you would like to speak with her about your case, call us at 215-712-1212 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation.

Expectation: A Good Lawyer Will Get My Charges Dismissed

When a prosecutor files charges, they are essentially saying that they have enough evidence to charge you with a crime. Every case is different, and the evidence may be very weak in some cases. However, it’s usually the case that they have some evidence that is compelling and other evidence that may not hold up in court.

In order to get your charges dismissed, your lawyer has to persuade the prosecutor or the court that either the charges are totally without merit or that there is no way they can convict you at trial. This is not easy to do, especially early on in the case. Prosecutors are reluctant to dismiss charges because it undermines their credibility and frustrates the law enforcement officers that brought them the case.

Your attorney should seek to have your charges dismissed where appropriate, but that is not an option in every case. Instead, they may attempt to get the charges reduced to a less serious crime or negotiate a plea agreement. If those options don’t work, your attorney will then begin preparing to defend you at trial.

Expectation: A Good Lawyer Will Get Me Acquitted at Trial

The outcome at trial in your case will depend on a variety of factors, many of which are beyond your attorney’s control. While a good lawyer will be very skilled at being persuasive, the outcome of your case will ultimately depend on the evidence presented and what the jury found compelling.

The jury will obviously play a very large role in the outcome of your case. Your lawyer will go to great lengths in the jury selection process to ensure that the jury is as unbiased as possible, but they have to work against the prosecution’s efforts to impanel a jury that they think will favor conviction. In complex cases, the jury can often get confused and make decisions that are difficult to predict. Otherwise, and despite your lawyer’s best efforts, their personal biases and prejudices can creep into the decision making process.

The judge can also have a significant impact on your case. One of their primary roles is deciding the admissibility of each piece of evidence. This means that the judge controls what evidence the jury will get to hear or see. If the judge rules that a critical piece of evidence is inadmissible, it could jeopardize your case.

Expectation: My Lawyer Doesn’t Need to Know the Truth about What Happened

You want to be completely up-front and honest with your lawyer about your case. If they later discover that you were not honest with them, it will do serious damage to your relationship – they will begin to second-guess everything you told them, which distracts them from putting all of their effort into your defense.

More importantly, lying to your attorney could harm your case. Your lawyer will formulate your defense strategy based on what you have told them. When they discover that you were not completely truthful, it may be too late to change course. In addition, they may have already made certain representations to the prosecution and the court, and this new development may destroy their credibility as well as yours.

Expectation: My Lawyer Can Have All the Evidence Against Me Suppressed

This is unfortunately untrue, although we wish criminal defense were as simple as that. You cannot have evidence suppressed simply because it is damaging, or you feel that it was obtained unfairly. You can file a motion to suppress evidence only when you believe the evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights:

Miranda rights violation. If law enforcement failed to “read you your rights,” any statements that you made may be subject to a motion to suppress and thereby deemed inadmissible. Your rights include the right to remain silent, the right to know that anything you say can be used against you, and your right to an attorney.

Unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment guards against unlawful searches and seizures. If the evidence in question was obtained without a warrant or without probable cause, your lawyer may file a motion to suppress.

Chain of Custody Errors. Even if the police obtained the evidence legally, they must carefully document it while it is in their possession. They must be able to prove that the evidence was secure and free from tampering and that it was under their control the entire time. If they cannot – there are breaks in the chain of custody, your lawyer can file a motion to have the evidence suppressed.

Outside of these circumstances, it’s unlikely that your lawyer will be able to get the evidence in your case suppressed.

The Reality: What a Good Lawyer Will Do for You

We’ve spent a fair amount of time debunking some common misconceptions about what their criminal defense attorneys can do for them. Here is what you can reasonably expect from a good criminal defense lawyer:

  • Your lawyer will act in your best interest at all times.
  • Your lawyer will be candid and honest with you about your case.
  • Your lawyer will provide you with zealous legal representation and aggressively defend you against all charges.
  • Your lawyer will make sure you understand all or your options, answer your questions, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed in your case.

The end result is not within your attorney’s control, and even the best attorneys lose cases. The important thing is whether or not they provide you with competent, thorough, legal representation throughout the process.

If You Need a Lawyer, Contact Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Lauren Wimmer

Being charged with a crime and facing the possibility of conviction can be overwhelming. You don’t want an attorney who is trying to meet unrealistic expectations that will only lead to disappointment. You need an attorney who will give you honest, straightforward answers to your questions and aggressively defend you against your charges. If you’re facing charges, call Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Lauren Wimmer at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss how she can help you.