Why Your Attorney Needs to Know Your Life History

Your criminal defense attorney and your priest are the two people in the world who should know as much about you as you do. By knowing everything that goes on in your life (good and bad), your priest can help you atone for your sins with God. Your criminal defense attorney is not that powerful, but if he knows everything about your life (good and bad) he can help you get the most favorable outcome if you are ever charged with a crime.

You may wonder how knowing that as a teenager you once stole a candy bar from Von’s and then felt bad five minutes later and put it back would help your attorney in this case. Or perhaps you don’t think it is important to tell your attorney that you were once able to run a 4-minute mile in college. The truth is, maybe neither of those facts will help with your case directly. But, it is always better for your attorney to have too much information rather than not enough. It is always better to give the information to your criminal defense attorney so he can decide what is important, how it may help, and when to disclose it to the prosecution.

Typically, background information about a criminal defendant’s life is important at arraignments, bail hearings, plea bargainings, and sentencings. If your attorney has the right information, he can show the prosecution and the court that you are not a flight risk and should be released on your own recognisance (OR) or that bail should be reduced. Or perhaps your attorney can convince the prosecutor that you were a law abiding citizen for the first 40 years of your life and just made a bad mistake this time so the district attorney will reduce or dismiss the charges. The point is, it is impossible to know exactly what information will be useful until the attorney has it and can see how it fits with the case.

So, if you have been involved in an incident that you fear may make you the target of a police investigation or if you have been contacted by police or arrested already, call a criminal defense attorney at the American Justice Center for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation (then write down as thorough a synopsis of your life as you can).