Did You Take the 5th on the 4th?
Last week we discussed the difference between being innocent and not guilty. We discussed that OJ Simpson and Bill Cosby were not guilty, but certainly not innocent. We also discussed the distinction between telling a lie and not talking to the police or insurance adjuster.
The 4th of July Weekend is always one of the parties, drinking and a potential DUI or ACCIDENT. If either of these crossed your path you should take down your social media. Investigators for the DA or Insurance Company can save a lot of money and gather a ton of info by just checking Facebook sites etc. They can see what you did and get the names of friends they could interview.
Some accident victims post that they are going skiing or entering a marathon right after an accident. Of course, this is after they complained to the doctor about how much they are hurt, and all the things they cannot do. Arguably if they can play a sport, then they were not that injured that badly in the accident.
A client shouldn’t post that they were lucky not to have been stopped the day before when they were even more drunk or any other post about their drinking and or driving etc. It is a good idea for a client to also hire a local attorney, who will know the judges and court employees and that should be done ASAP. Once a client has a lawyer they can no longer be contacted by an investigator on either type of case.
Preserving evidence, by writing things down right away, helps. Smart cell phones can be used to take pictures of parties, CDL, car damage, streets, and to obtain statements from drivers and wits.
The law arguably wins every time, no matter what kind of case one discusses. Whether you are found guilty or not guilty of a DUI you still lose. All defendants lose time and money from the arrest; court trips; bail; retaining counsel; loss of earnings and dealing with the stress.
Just like the admonition of the difference between telling a lie and not talking, there is also a difference between a case being dismissed and the client is innocent. Even when the case is dismissed you have lost …as I have explained.
When an accident victim files suit, they can be served written questions called interrogatories or have their depo taken. Then one might be ordered to appear in court for a variety of appearances and though a case is called for 8 am it may not be heard until the afternoon calendar or it may be trailed until the next day or week. With Covid who knows what will happen with court calendars in the future.
Thus there is no way you can truly win when you are in civil or criminal litigation. The stress that a legal case causes often result in your taking it out on your significant other or your kids. This leads to subsequent domestic violence etc arrests as well as divorces and disharmony with the family……not to mention the interruption of business and the financial losses incurred therein.
A party wins or loses a case for many reasons, other than the facts. Sometimes, a client cannot afford the best lawyer or the best experts that are necessary to prevail. Often a defendant is unlikeable either because of his/her appearance … such as tattoos or their attitude.
Once again, if you have to go to court, I advise my clients:
- When you are around the courthouse, become the most courteous driver on the road. You don’t know if the driver you cut off or flipped off will be your judge, clerk, or juror. You may not recognize that driver but they will remember you.
- Park your car between the lines, do not take 2 spaces.
- Do NOT smoke or spit.
- Follow Do not walk on the Grass signs.
- Hold the elevator door open for whoever is behind you.
- Be courteous to everyone in the courthouse.
- Dress professionally and cover tattoos with clothes if possible.
- Shine your Shoes.
- Clean your Nails.
- A belt should not be old and worn out.
- Ties should not be dirty.
- Clothes must be pressed & cleaned.
- Do not eat beans the night before.
Most lawyers agree, The Law Wins Every Time and it is often not worth fighting “the law”. HOWEVER, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT SWAYS A JUROR.