How the Greatest Criminal Defense Lawyers Handle Sentencing
The lawyers who are capable of achieving the most lenient possible sentences for their clients do not follow a script or plan of action, they paint a picture for the sentencing judge that is moving on deep emotional level and thereby motivates the judge to impose an extraordinary sentence.
Clients who want to know “how can I stay out of jail?” frequently ask, what is your “strategy for sentencing” or “what are you going to say at sentencing”?
Representing someone at a sentencing hearing is analogous to painting an original painting and not analogous to baking a cake or following a recipe. If you ask a chef how to bake a cake, he can tell you the ingredients and their measurements, the type of cooking pan to use, the temperature of the oven, and the time to cook the cake. A master artist who is painting an original piece of artwork, does not paint by numbers or copy a previously painted work. A master artist, who is creating an original painting, paints from the heart, not from a script or manual. Original art is created, modified and brought to life on a real time basis. Can an artist tell you how to create a work of art? They can teach basic skills but mastery takes talent, years of experience and rare aptitude.
Similarly, a master criminal defense lawyer who is presenting their client’s case at sentencing, is doing so with an effort to influence the judge to impose a particular or lenient sentence. The attorney has to take information provided by the client, collected in independent investigation, and from the case file and use it to paint a picture for the judge that helps him or her see, understand and agree with the defense lawyer’s argument. Just as an original, beautiful work of art should influence the audience’s heart and mind, the defense lawyer must be able to do the same with allocution on behalf of the client.
What role does the client play in helping the defense attorney paint the picture?
The client can provide information, letters, proof of employment and other positive aspects to his or her life. The positive, credible information provided by the client are the equivalent of paintbrushes and colors to the artist. The more the client can provide the lawyer, the more paints and brushes the lawyer will have at his or her disposal. The answer to, “How Can I Stay Out of Jail?,” is to be as helpful and responsive to your lawyer’s request for information as possible and then trust in your attorney to fight for you and protect you as best possible.
What is the best argument to help the client avoid jail or prison?
How the very best criminal defense lawyers handle the actual sentencing hearing and what words that person will use are never scripted or pre-determined. The lawyer is guided by a vision that is created with countless hours of preparation and forethought. That lawyer’s allocution will be conceived as it happens and in real time, just as the master artist applies paint to the canvas without a guide to trace. A new lawyer may plan what words will be spoken and use a script that was committed to memory. The lawyers who are known for achieving the best possible sentences, the ones most other lawyers cannot achieve, just know what to say and transform and modify the allocution based on innumerable factors that less experienced lawyers just cannot see or understand.
What factors influence what a defense lawyer says at sentencing on a felony or misdemeanor?
The words used are not pre-determined based upon a “strategy for sentencing”. The actual words of a great lawyer at sentencing improvised and adapted on a real time basis based upon the position of the prosecutor, the recommendation of probation, the judges mood on the day of the sentencing hearing, and recent events in that judge’s courtroom. A top lawyer will likely change what he or she says based upon comments and assertions made by lawyers and defendants who are called before that client’s case and the judge’s reactions to those comments and assertions. The particular words, phrases and emotions of the allocution may change based on current events and a multitude of other intangible factors that just seems right at the time. Great “lawyering” at a sentence hearing is not a science, great “lawyering” it is an art.
What is the answer to, “how can I stay out of jail?”
If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor and you are facing the possibility of jail time, your best hope for staying out of jail or prison is to work with and cooperate with the best criminal defense lawyer you can get. Look for an attorney who is nationally ranked (Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, SuperLawyer, etc…), has decades of experience, specializes in criminal defense and has a track-record of successful representation. There is no substitute for meeting a lawyer face-to-face for a consultation.
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. offers free consultations and our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys would be happy to provide a confidential case evaluation and discuss with you how we may be able to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. You can call us directly at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.