We're Committed to Your Justice Schedule a Free Case Consultation

How Do You Help Clients Determine Whether To Go To Trial Or Not?

The Law Office Phillips & Allen PA Nov. 20, 2022

The conversation always starts out with the facts of the trial, and it’ll start out with the police report. What can the state prove, what can we challenge in the state’s proof, and what can we prove. I always walk a client through what I would expect to happen if we try the case. We have certain issues that the judge may side with us, may not side with us, we know what a plea deal is ahead of time to take that. The big thing is what your odds of winning are, because sometimes it’s bad advice to take somebody to trial where you know that there is a very strong likelihood that they will get found guilty on multiple charges, where you can get them off on a lesser charge for something easier to deal with through a plea agreement. The clients typically need to know this. Clients also need to know that when you are in the legal system, the legal system is very random.

A lot of times, trials are like rolling dice. If you end up getting a certain combination, you will win. The randomness of this can fall into punishment too. Knowing what all their options are and knowing the fact that your lawyer is a person that you’re just handing the dice to and rolling those dice, and that the client needs to know what the potential outcomes of those dice are and what it’s going to do to them. As an attorney, I would much rather try a case than plea a case out. That is the competitive nature of myself, just like being on the bench as a quarterback on a football team. You want to be in the game. Pleas are fairly quick and simple, trials are detailed and difficult, and good attorneys look for those challenges. I always advise my clients we could win this case and I think we’re going to win this case, but you need to know the options if you lose, because there is always a chance that a judge or a jury doesn’t agree with my argument on a case and it’s the client who faces the consequences. I’d rather take the gamble, but it’s not my money. Knowing their options and knowing what the potential outcomes are is very important.

Can Someone Even Afford To Take Their Criminal Case To Trial?

Being able to afford to take a criminal case to trial can be a problem for many people. Not having the financial resources to hire and have an attorney, and take it through all the necessary steps, can be a big hindrance to somebody. Sometimes you have cases that you are confident that you could win if you try it where a client looks at, “If I try it, it’s going to cost me more money,” or, “If I want a jury trial, it’s going to cost me this much more money, and if I get a conviction and I go to jail for a couple of weekends, I’d rather go to jail than spend all this money on a criminal trial.” Criminal attorneys are expensive. A criminal jury trial generally takes 30 to 40 hours’ worth of my time, and I have to bill because the only way that I can bill is for my time. The cost involved is something that clients need to be aware of, as to what it takes to go to trial and it will cost more to go to trial, will I be able to afford the bills that are going to come from there.

What Are The Important Things To Know When Deciding Whether To Take A Case To Trial Or Not?

The most important things to know are what an expected outcome is and what you’re trying to accomplish. You’d have to balance your equities—what am I trying to accomplish, what will this do for me, and will it really help me out in the long run? That is the biggest factor people, in fact, should consider. The justice system is random and it’s harsh. Some people will end up with much worse situations than other people for exactly the same crime or the same fact-pattern. You need to know all the players that are involved—what does the prosecutor want to do with you, how does the judge sentence people who are similar to your case, what are my chances of winning. Those are things that people really need to know. Does somebody need to testify, what witnesses do they need to bring, there are a lot of questions and it’s all on an individual basis.

Some people will have a very good understanding of what’s in front of them and what they need to do. Some people will walk in the courtroom with their eyes looking like a deer in the headlights, and not knowing what is going to happen to them. The biggest thing is being prepared before you go into the courtroom, knowing what you want to accomplish, and having a reasonable chance that you are going to be able to accomplish what you’re going there for.

How Does Your Personality, Approach And Experience Affect The Outcome Of A Trial?

Typically, I spend the time and take the effort to explain to my clients what we need to do and how we want to accomplish it. I always sit down with my clients or get with them on the phone before we go into a trial, and go over the exact types of issues that I’m going to want them to testify to, or whether or not they are going to testify and help them along. I have been doing this for over 20 years, and I have done several criminal jury trials. I have been successful in both of them, and I believe that my approach is an approach that is geared towards result. I don’t try to be the person who un-turns every stone and turns a little trial into a major trial. I look for the one thing that is most beneficial to my client in the trial, the best argument that you have when you go in the courtroom. I won’t ignore other documents that can get a client off, but there is a focus of what I try to accomplish in every trial. If I don’t have the focus as to what we can accomplish and what we can’t accomplish, I am going to be honest with my client. I tell them where they stand, what the potential outcome of their trial is, and how this will affect them in the long run.

Additional Information On Criminal Trials In Maryland

We have three attorneys, with over 60 years of experience between us. We are one of the longest established firms in Garret County, Maryland. We have offices in McHenry, Maryland and in Friendsville, Maryland. We have handled hundreds if not thousands of cases over the year, from very simple traffic tickets to complex multi-day jury trials. We do a lot of criminal cases and we only try to strive to help the citizens in Garrett County and the citizens who come to visit Garrett County, since we are a very big tourist area. Most of our trials take place in Oakland, Maryland, and district and circuit courts for Garrett County and in Allegany County. We also do West Virginia and Pennsylvania, we have licenses there.

For more information on Determining Whether To Go To Trial, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking talk Arnold F. Phillips by calling today.