Tuesday, October 7, 2014
One question I get a lot ... from people who have never had to hire a lawyer specifically ... is: "How can you defend criminals?"
True ... it is probably not a surprise that many (if not most) of the people I work with are "guilty" of the crimes they are accused of. Or, at least, guilty of something. Honestly, clients often come to me with little or no hope, wondering what (if anything) can be done.
One of the first things that I tell them is that although they may be guilty of something, they may not be guilty of the specific crime they are charged with. An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney will make sure that the crime is properly charged, and that all the applicable rules and laws are followed throughout the case.
In addition, a lawyer is often able to negotiate a favorable settlement, even in cases of clear guilt. If a lawyer is able to reduce a presumed sentence by even a month or two, the fees paid will have been well worth it. Lawyers are often able to negotiate reduced fines, reduced jail time and probation, etc.
But what about the role of a lawyer as counselor? Those accused of crimes are often in need of something more than merely being represented in court. Sometimes the crime itself is more accurately described as the symptom of a more serious problem, such as drug addiction or mental health issues. Criminals may do bad things, but I firmly believe they are not bad people. Generally speaking, their biggest problem is what could be described as a “lack of foresight.” A lawyer can help counsel their client, advising them to address any underlying issues. This type of advice includes encouraging the client to seek treatment, find a job or start education, and to keep their life happy and stable. Depending on the client, I sometimes encourage them to seek some spiritual guidance as well.
There is a balance that must be struck, however. Those accused of crimes do not need another person to lecture them on their mistakes. Most already acknowledge that they screwed up somehow, and most are ready to make a change. It is the lawyer’s role to encourage them and assist them in making the changes they want to make. One of the very best parts about being a criminal defense attorney is that I have the privilege of finding people at the time in their lives where they are most willing to make changes for the better. Rather than focusing too much on the past, I believe it is best to focus on the future. Despite the obstacles, the future for most criminals can be very bright, especially with the right encouragement and the right counsel.
For help with a legal dilemma, please feel free to call The Rolloff Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165