Importance Of Setting Criminal Case Outcome Goals
When facing criminal charges, it’s very important to take a few minutes, to sit down, and set your goals.
And by goals I mean what do we want to accomplish at the end of the case? What do we want to make sure that we protect? What type of consequences do we want to avoid? We talked to a lot of people at our office and it’s very clear, across the board, that everybody wants their case dismissed.
So do we, we want every single case that we ever work on, every single case that we touch, ultimately dismissed and as though it never happened. A few months go by and it’s like the whole thing never happened and it’s all gone.
We want that, we strive for that, we fight for that every single day.
The unfortunate reality is that most cases just simply aren’t flat out dismissed, they’re just not.
The government is not in the business of dismissing cases. They want convictions, they want money, it basically justifies their existence to prosecute and convict people. So they are not generally willing to voluntarily dismiss cases.
That being said, we get a lot of dismissals, we get a lot of reductions, and we help put people in a much better position than they would otherwise be at the beginning of their case.
But, one of the ways that we do that is we take a few minutes and we discuss the case goals, for both the people that we’re working with and for our team so that we’re in alignment.
So that we can proceed together and make sure that we’re shooting for an outcome that is going to be better, satisfactory, at the end of the case. So let’s take a quick look and let’s talk about what some of those goals are, what some of the consequences are that we want to avoid.
As we can see, we have a couple of main categories that we want to focus on. The number one, highest priority, most talked about, most worried about the concern, comes to a person’s physical well-being. Okay, this is the physical category. And by physical consequences, I literally mean physical consequences. Is somebody going to be arrested or incarcerated after the arrest? Are they going to go to jail or prison? There’s a difference between the two. Are they going to be placed on probation, type of period, for a very long period of time? Are they going to have to wear an ankle monitor throughout the course of the case? Are they going to have to go substance abuse classes or community service?
These are all consequences that we certainly want to avoid. But you want to make sure that you consider what those are.
Things like home detention and stuff may be a better option for you, but you have to understand that this is a big concern and a lot of offenses do carry with it mandatory jail time. So, the physical goals, those are pretty much a given.
Everybody wants to avoid those, but you want to make sure that you’re clear about that. What can be done to reduce jail time or eliminate jail time? How can jail time be transferred into home detention or community service, or something else? So you want to make sure that that is at the top of your list if you’ve been charged with a crime.
Another big concern is regarding your driver’s license. So, a lot of the people that we work with, they’re being charged with traffic related offenses, like DUIs or reckless driving or driving on suspended licenses, and those types of things.
Those carry consequences to a person’s drivers license, and it can result in a revocation of your license, it can result in a suspension.
A revocation meaning you don’t get it back, a suspension meaning you’d get it back after a certain period of time.
For commercial drivers, truck drivers and things, it can mean that they lose their job entirely if they get any points on their record. It can mean that your insurance rates go up, and those types of things.
So, you want to consider, if you’ve been charged with a traffic related offense, what are the potential consequences there that you want to avoid? And let’s make that a goal. Let’s keep going around the circle.
The next one that we have is reputation. So if you’re going to be convicted of a crime, or if you’re facing criminal charges, you want to consider how that’s going to impact your reputation. Some have a bigger impact than others.
There are crimes that are called crimes of moral turpitude, which carry a little bit bigger of social stigma. Things like shoplifting, theft, fraud and forgery, may have a bigger impact on you getting a job, working for a company where you’re in charge of the cash register, for example.
They’re not going to want somebody who has a history of theft. But there are some other things that we want to avoid when it comes to your reputation, certainly, we want to avoid a criminal conviction. We want to avoid you having this pop up on a background check.
Similarly, we want to know whether you have to actually disclose this to your employer, your company, some HR policies require you to disclose things. Certain high-level executives must disclose these types of things.
You want to make sure that that is on your goal, to avoid a conviction or to have some sort of an outcome that’s not going to require that mandatory disclosure. Same thing with a registry. Certain offenses require you to be listed on a registry. If we want to avoid that, we want to make sure that that is in our radar, on our radar, as a goal, otherwise that might get overlooked.
Similarly, professional consequences may result as a result of a conviction, they may be incurred. We want to avoid that. So for people with professional licenses, doctors, lawyers, teachers, teachers have fingerprint clearance cards, there are certain consequences that a criminal conviction may have on those licenses, and so we want to make sure that we’re aware of those, we’re making notes of that, so that we can begin planning for an outcome that doesn’t impact those types of things.
Same with real estate professionals and other professional industries. The next we want to talk about are some other collateral consequences. So these are goals that we want to shoot for that may not be a direct result of a conviction.
Meaning the judge is not going to impose them, the prosecutor’s not going to make that as part of their sentencing or part of their plea agreement, but they may still have an impact on you, and, so, we want to make sure that those are accounted for and avoided.
So, here, we’re talking about a few things, so, the top one I have here is if you’re in the military. If you’re going to be applying or enlisting in the military, or if you are already in the military, having a criminal conviction in civilian courts may have an impact on your career, on your future.
It may impact your current status, your standing, or your rank. And, so, you want to make sure that that is on our radar as well, so that we can begin working through that process. Same if you’re going through a divorce, okay?
If you have a pending divorce that’s going on, you’re being charged with a crime, that can impact the outcome of that divorce as well. So that’s not related to the criminal case, but it is something that you have to consider.
Same with custody battles, okay? If you’re fighting over who has custody with your ex or your spouse, ex-spouse, you want to make sure that you’re considering that. How is a criminal conviction going to impact your ability to have custody of your children? It’s very important, it’s a major issue, so you want to make sure that you’re not forgetting about those things.
Similarly, having a crime for certain offenses can impact your ability to get student loans, can impact your security clearance with certain jobs or certain other high security positions, so those are collateral consequences.
You want to take a few minutes and make sure that if any of those apply to you, you’re making note of them. And some other consequences that we have that are actually more common than many people think, but it’s regarding immigration.
So, whether or not a criminal conviction is going to result in your deportation if you are not a documented citizen. If you are somebody who is here and you go into custody, is the government going to deport you out of the United States? That’s a very big, important factor that we want to make sure we’re accounting for.
Similarly, if you have a visa and you’re up for a visa renewal, is this going to be something that makes that process more difficult for you? Or if the government denies or revokes your visa, that’s obviously a major problem for you. It kinda ties into the physical portion of this goals chart here. We want to make sure that that’s not happening to you. Whether you’re going to be applying for citizenship is another big, important one.
A lot of people are here on green cards. If they get a criminal conviction and they are applying for citizenship, is that going to be a problem for them? So, these are just some of the goals that we have. We have a much more exhaustive list that we use here, but I wanted to give you just a quick understanding of what you should be thinking about.
So, rather than meeting with an attorney and saying, look, I want my case dismissed, 100% dismissed, what are my chances on that?
That’s not really the most productive question, okay? That’s where we start, I’m not trying to say that we don’t, we always start looking for dismissal, that’s where everything starts. But, in most cases, that just simply doesn’t happen, and, so we want to make sure that if that doesn’t happen, we are focused on what else can we do to protect you, protect your reputation, protect your future, protect your professional licenses, protect any of these other consequences that may have a drastic impact on you.
That gives us, and our office, and our team of attorneys here a very good set of information that we can use to develop a strategy that’s really going to win for you, no matter the outcome.
So give that some thought and if you have been charged with a crime, do not overlook this stuff.
I’m seriously encouraging you to not to overlook this step, it’s very important, it’s going to help you as the case progresses for the next several months. So I hope that was helpful.
If you’d like to dive into this a little bit further and you want some help from my office, give us a call.
We offer free case evaluations, and we’re happy to meet with you.
When facing criminal charges one of the most important things to do is discuss the goals you want to achieve with your legal team. One of the main goals people set is having their case dismissed and closed. This is a goal that R&R Law Group strives to achieve with all its clients. Unfortunately, most cases are not simply dismissed. Prosecutors fight for convictions and do not voluntarily dismiss cases. R&R Law Group fights aggressively and thrives on getting cases dismisses and/or reducing the charges. One of R&R’s priorities is to take time at the beginning of every case to set goals with every client.
The main categories of goals that are discussed with our clients include physical well-being, driver’s license repercussions, reputation, professional consequences, collateral consequences, and other consequences. Once these goals are discussed and set, we can focus on achieving these goals and focusing on a good outcome for each client.
Physical consequences include discussions about things such as a person being arrested and going to jail or prison, completing substance abuse classes, being placed on probation, wearing an ankle monitor, and/or completing community service hours. These are some consequences we try to avoid. One alternative measure R&R Law Group discusses with our clients would be completing home detention instead of being incarcerated. These are things you want to discuss with your legal team. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of misdemeanor cases require mandatory jail time. When setting a goal concerning physical consequences you want to discuss different alternatives with your legal team.
Consequences to your driver’s license include revocation of your license versus a suspension of your license. When a license is revoked you do not get it back and a suspended license means you get it back after a specific period. Keep in mind that these consequences differentiate when a person has a commercial driver’s license. One of the main concerns to a CDL driver is losing his/her job entirely if their license gets revoked or suspended.
If you are charged or convicted of a crime you want to consider how this will affect your reputation. Different convictions can impact a person’s career and social status. When discussing reputation goals some of the things to avoid include criminal convictions, charges and convictions reflecting on a background check, disclose this charge or conviction to your employer, and registry.
Professional consequences include the consequences a conviction will have on someone’s professional career including doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Certain consequences will impact a person’s license and career and you want to make sure your legal team is aware of these potential consequences. An example would be the consequences a misdemeanor conviction will impact a teacher’s fingerprint clearance card.
Collateral consequences deal with potential repercussions that can come because of a criminal conviction. For example, a person who aspires to join the military a conviction can impact that career. A criminal conviction can impact the outcome of a divorce or a custody battle. Lastly, discuss the impact a conviction will have towards your ability to get a student loan or clear a security clearance for a job.
Other consequences to discuss is the impact a conviction will have on your immigration proceeding. If you are not a U.S. citizen a criminal conviction can have detrimental consequences towards the goal of becoming one. A conviction can also impact a person’s ability to renew a work or student visa. Immigration is a very important factor you want to consider and discuss with your legal team.