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Leonard Frieling Aug. 14, 2023

Won't They Think I'm Guilty if I Hire a Lawyer?

If I retain a lawyer, won't the DA think I'm guilty? Since I'm innocent, why do I need a lawyer?
I've heard that question dozens and dozens of times over the decades. My experience and belief are quite clear. Innocent people need to have legal representation FAR MORE than guilty people.
The right to counsel was not always with us. The seminal case of Gideon v. Wainwright established the fundamental right to counsel.
The system is designed to convict, and most of those charged are guilty of something as charged, or similar to the actual charges. In resolving their case, the range of acceptable results might be a wide range. For example, a goal might be as clear as "avoid a prison sentence." That leaves a vast playing field of alternatives for resolution of the case.
If you are simply innocent, the range of acceptable results is quite narrow. Does a truly innocent person choose a prison sentence of 5 years to avoid a risk of 20 years? These types of decisions are best made with legal assistance. The acceptable outcomes for an innocent defendant are very limited. There simply is not much room to move.
The guilty need lawyers early in the process for many obvious reasons. The innocent need a lawyer retained ASAP early in the case for a longer list of less intuitive reasons. Civilians believe that the DA, in their search for the truth, will of course see that they have charged an innocent person. So there is nothing to worry about. WRONG!!! Dangerously wrong! If the DA did not think you were guilty, they would not have filed charges. To get someone to admit they were wrong is generally not an easy thing to do. Lawyers are schooled and practiced at just that task.
And, the DA and the Judge are happier dealing with a defense attorney than with a civilian defendant. Dealing with your lawyer is far more efficient, and actually reduces the burden on the DA to explain things to the Defendant. The moral of the story? There is a reason that I say "CALL ME NOW" so many times on this website. Stay Safe! Love, Lenny


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