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Things a criminal defense lawyer should not do during an initial consultation, part 2

Your case may be bad. It may be really bad. But your lawyer should not tell you to plead guilty before he or she looks at the evidence in your case.

Maybe six cops found you with a counterfeit machine on your lap dripping with ink and newly created “currency” stacked around you. Maybe they found a video tape of you telling your broker to sell because you’ve got inside information that the company’s product causes head lice. Maybe you went door to door confessing to a crime and the story is now on youtube. Regardless, your lawyer should look at the evidence the government has against you before trying to figure out whether to make a deal with the government or go to trial.

Sure, there are times when you need to make a decision quickly. But normally that means a prosecutor should get your lawyer his evidence more quickly.

If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges or Washington DC federal criminal charges.

I’ve heard of lawyers, during initial consultations, saying that they called the prosecutor and asked if the prosecutor thinks the potential client is guilty. This is deeply unimpressive. If a prosecutor indicts someone, the prosecutor either (a) thinks the person is guilty or (b) is deeply unethical. And if the prosecutor is deeply unethical he’d lie to a lawyer calling to ask about a case anyway.

Instead, talk to your lawyer about the government’s evidence. Make sure you understand it. Make sure you understand what a jury would be asked to decide if the case went to trial. Then, maybe, you should talk about what to do about a trial.

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