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Preparing A Defense: It Is Important For Your Attorney To Know About Any Prior Criminal History You Have

Eric:  I need to know everything. I tell my clients this because again, after over 32 years of doing this, it consistently happens. I even give out forms to fill out. They are completely confidential forms and the answers help me with their case.

Of course, one of the most important things I need to know is, “Have you had a prior contact with the law?” Even though I have your criminal record, maybe what I see is right, maybe it’s wrong, but what else is going on?

I need to know if there was another problem in another state. Did you have juvenile contact when you were younger than 15 years of age? Did you have contact when you were younger than 19 years of age? What happened?

It still happens where I’ll have a conference with the DA and they make a plea offer that I don’t understand and I say to them, “Why do you think that’s a good offer? That’s a crummy offer.” Then they’ll tell me, “Because your client has an old charge or they have a pending case or something going on from another state that you didn’t know about.” Even though I asked the client, I didn’t know about it.

I go out and ask the client, “The DA says you’re on probation from Pennsylvania.” They client said, “Well, yes it is. It’s true.” I have to ask, “Why didn’t you tell me that?” You must tell your lawyer everything because in order to prepare a defense they need to know the facts.

Your Attorney Is There to Help: Don’t Withhold Information Your Attorney Needs because You Are Embarrassed

Interviewer:  I imagine that certainly people are embarrassed and they probably feel bad about themselves when they’re coming to see you?

Eric:  Yes, it’s my job and we do a very good job of telling people not to be embarrassed. Right now, whether you are you’re wrongfully accused, rightfully accused of a crime, I’m here to help you.  I will help you if you tell me what I need to know, tell me the answers to my questions and let me help you. I will help you.

By Eric Sachs