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For example, we have complete discovery. We have the opportunity to review all of the police reports, all of the information supporting the reliability of the breath or blood test. Any information, such as video tapes that we have received from the police officer and from the prosecution. Also we want to take into consideration our own investigation. If we have gone out to the site of the arrest to see what’s there and how that compares to what’s in the police report. We want to take into that consideration. Obviously an interview with you. Any and all of the information that we have relative to your case. We want to put it all together and sort of evaluate whether or not your case is a good candidate for trial. We will give you our opinion whether or not we think we can meet with success at trial. Or whether or not we don’t think we can meet with success at trial.
We will have gone through what’s called, “Motion Practice”. If there are any legal issues that need to have been brought before the court prior to trial, then we would have done that. For example, if we think that there’s a problem with the breath or blood test and we think we can keep it out of evidence altogether we will have filed that motion, which is a legal argument. The judge would have made a ruling and we would know whether or not the judge ruled in our favor and whether or not the prosecutor will be able to use the chemical evidence in their case. We may also have contested the validity of the stop or arrest. Those types of issues can lead to the complete dismissal of your case.
Finally we should have been engaged in some type of plea bargaining or plea negotiations with the prosecutor. We would have advised you whether or not an offer has been made and whether or not we think you should accept the offer. First off, it’s always up to you, it’s not our decision. We will tell you why we think you should or should not accept the offer. Really what it means is what the consequences will be, how it will affect your driving record, your employment and so forth. Once we go through all those parts of the case, and have been able to resolve it, then we make the decision as to whether or not we should go to trial.
The decision is always going to be yours, not ours. But we will assist you in making that decision by evaluation all of the evidence and discussing with you what your concerns are. In some instances we will not be able to reach an appropriate plea bargain, not one that is not acceptable to you. You have decided that the only way go get a result that is acceptable is to go to trial. Before you make that decision it is important for you to know, for example, what the cost of trial will be. How expensive will it be to take the case to trial? Will there be any expenses other than that you pay the lawyer, for example expert witness fees.
That will all be discussed. Another thing that clients are always very interested in is if they go to trial and lose, will they get a worse punishment than if they had plead guilty. In most instances, that’s not true. Its’ important for us to discuss that with you and if it’s appropriate, with the judge so that you can make a fully advised decision. Once we have gone through all of those stages, giving you all of that information, then it would be up to you to decide whether or not you want to take your case to trial.
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