2. Move, but don’t tell anyone. If we can’t find you then your bail bonding company probably can’t find you and the court can’t find you, so now it looks like you’ve skipped bail, because you won’t get court notices in the mail and you won’t get letters from your attorney. See # 1. Just because you may have told the Post Office your new address doesn’t mean the Judge has it. It is not the job of the court system to hunt you down. It is your job to keep them informed of your whereabouts. If you don’t want to do that, at least tell your lawyer and bail bondsman.
3. Change telephone numbers, but don’t tell anyone. So this way, the only method left of communicating with you is by mail or email. You’ve now put yourself at a disadvantage because your lawyer can’t find you, or at least can’t find you on short notice.images001
4. Talk about your case on Facebook. Facebook isn’t private. Cops and prosecutors have it too, and sometimes they can see more than other users can see. If you are charged with stealing a TV, don’t post a picture on FB of yourself holding the TV. If you are charged with armed robbery, don’t post a picture of yourself on FB holding a firearm.
5. Talk about your case on jail telephones. Those are recorded. Just assume that anything you say on a jail telelphone to anyone but your lawyer can and will be used against you. Calls to your lawyer aren’t supposed to be recorded, but why take the chances? We prefer to talk to our clients in person.
6. Get arrested for something new while your other case pending. Now you are all but assured that you are going to sit in jail without bail until both cases are resolved, and you’ve given the prosecutor an argument why you need prison more than probation. If you really want to compound your problems, get arrested again for the same thing you were arrested for last time, like my client who managed to get two more times while the first one was still pending.
7. Don’t pay your lawyer. We will take your case as seriously as you do, or don’t. Taking your case seriously means paying your attorney to work on your case. If you decide you need new rims on your car more than you need to pay your lawyer, we will understand that you do not take your case seriously and neither should we.
8. Fail a drug test. Some judges will randomly test you for drugs while on bond. If you fail, you’re going to end up back behind bars. Urine tests are incredibly sensitive nowadays, to the point that alcohol hand sanitizer can cause a false positive.
9. Lie to your lawyer. Lie to everyone else all you want, but don’t lie to your lawyer. We can’t help you if you don’t help us understand what’s going on. We know only as much about the case as you tell us, and everything you say is confidential.
10. Talk to police. No single act puts more people in prison than the act of sitting down with a cop and telling “your side of the story.” Cops are trained professionals in techniquest to convince people to talk about things they shouldn’t admit. Don’t fall for it. You’re digging your grave when you do. Remain silent and call your lawyer.
10 MORE Things Clients Do To Damage Their Cases:
1. Hire the Wrong Lawyer. There are many lawyers that are experts in fields OTHER than criminal law. When you need that great real estate or probate lawyer for a real estate or probate case, go hire him. For your criminal case, stick to criminal defense attorneys.
2. Be Late. The client who can’t make it to court on time is inviting the judge to reincarcerate him so that he is certain to be on time for court next time.
3. Dress Guilty. Dress for court like a job interview, because both are situations where you want to make a good impression. While you may be proud of that NORML T-shirt with the 12″ marijuana leaf on the back, it is probably not the best courtroom attire. Men should be covered from wrists to neck to ankle. Ladies from elbow to neck to knee.
4. Consent To A Search. We know we’ve covered this one before and again at every opportunity, but it’s a big one. Consenting to a search accomplishes nothing.
5. Play Lawyer. If you have a lawyer, let him/her do the work. Don’t file your own motions because you read something on the internet.
6. Write The Judge. Countless times I’ve seen cases derailed because a client thinks it is a good idea to write the judge in a private plea for mercy. The letter usually basically says “I did it, but I’m a good guy. I promise to never do it again.” These handwritten confessions are quickly copied and redistributed to the lawyers.
7. Get Legal Advice From Inmates. If they knew the law, they wouldn’t be in jail.
8. Contact Victims. Especially in domestic cases, a guy will get arrested and released on bail (or served with a restraining order) with a condition that he have no contact with the victim (usually a wife or girlfriend). Within minutes of leaving jail, he will call her to talk about the case. Whether he’s calling her to apologize or complain, it’s all the same violation of his bail conditions and often a whole new criminal charge.
9. Represent Yourself. We have rarely seen anyone win a pro-se felony case. It happens, but for every time it happens, we think there are ten other people who got far worse outcomes than they would have had if they had left the legal work to the lawyers.
10. Berate the Judge. We have never seen a case go well after a defendant berates a judge. Our personal favorite was the defendant who called a judge “___________” and was later sentenced to 10 years for shoplifting a pair of blue jeans.