This other lawyer promised me a dismissal…

Is one sentence I hate to here in a consultation. Potential clients all desire the same thing during a consulation, the one thing that I can not promise them- certainty of outcome. Check the avvo message boards and you will see the most common question asked by defendants is “I’m charged with x, what sentence will I get?”
Most defendants are regular hard working Americans who but for the unlucky lottery and perpetual vigilance of law enforcement would have never been arrested or charged wtih anything. These defendants want the process over and their lives back, post haste.

Unfortunately, I don’t do guaranteed dismissals for any case. I can tell you that a small category of cases (hot checks in Kaufman in which the defendant pays restitution) are routinely dismissed. But even that doesn’t mean any one particular case will be dismissed.

Why can’t I gurantee your case will be dismissed? Criminal law is full of variables I do not control- the prosecutor, the police report, your criminal history, the judge, inter alia.

A cornucopia of potential pitfalls lay in the way of your case being dismissed. Not to mention a whole host of politically sensitive cases that no DA wants to dismiss for fear they appear less “tough on crime” (DWI, AFV, anything with sex in the title). It is unethical to promise something I do not have complete control over to win a new client (and their fee). So I don’t.

I tell potential clients that if a lawyer promises a dismissal on a case, to run, not walk out of their office. Don’t waste time with someone who would exploit your fear and desire for a quick and easy conclusion. You’ll find that this lawyer inevitably discovers some unforseen “problem” with the case that, lo and behold, means there will be no easy dismissal.

What I can guarantee is that I will work hard towards your goals. If you want a dismissal, that’s the goal. If that becomes impossible or improbable, we adjust strategy and move on. I can also share what I’ve seen in other similar cases, but that creates no binding precedent for your case. To a potential clients that’s nothing like the siren song of a guaranteed dismissal. But at least it’s honest.

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One response to “This other lawyer promised me a dismissal…”

  1. Jeff K. says:

    I handle the “But another lawyer said he/she could do X” one of two ways. I either tell them that there are no guarantees when it comes to the court system and that no one can really promise anything.

    And if they keep insisting that the other lawyer can get them whatever they want, I kindly suggest they go hire that attorney and not me.

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