Negotiation is a powerful tool that a Honolulu criminal defense lawyer will use to your best advantage. Your lawyer can negotiate to have charges dismissed, reduced, or another favorable result that protects your freedom and future in the long term.
What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Negotiate?
Your criminal defense lawyer will likely start negotiating on your behalf from the start. Some of the things he or she can work towards are:
- Reduced bail amounts or zero bail (released on your own recognizance)
- Dropped or dismissed charges
- Reduced charges
- Plea deals
- Reduced or alternative sentences
These are only a few common examples of what your lawyer can negotiate. Your attorney is the best person to ask about what you can expect in your unique case.
Criminal Defense Negotiation Tactics
In law school and throughout their careers, the best criminal defense lawyers sharpen their negotiation skills.
Here are a few ways that defense lawyers negotiate:
- Offer something in return: If you offer the prosecutor something, they may agree to cut you a deal that reduces your charge or sentence. This is the key behind many plea bargains. Your lawyer may convince the prosecution to reduce your charge in exchange for your guilty plea.
- Poke holes in their case: If the evidence against you is weak in any way, your lawyer can jump on this chance to convince the prosecution that the charge against you won’t stick in court. Remember, both sides can learn more about each other’s cases through the process of discovery.
- Convince them the case isn’t worth their time: Maybe the evidence against you is strong, but your lawyer has a defense that looks stronger. Your lawyer will work hard to convince the overworked prosecutor that your case isn’t going to be worth their time because they likely won’t get a guilty verdict. In the right cases, this can be extremely effective.
Negotiations Before Arraignment
In some cases, your attorney can help before formal charges being filed. When you hire a criminal defense lawyer before your arraignment and plea, your lawyer may be able to:
- Point out weaknesses in your case: Your lawyer may be able to convince the prosecutor that there is no evidence of your guilt. In such a case, your charge could be dismissed.
- Clear crowded dockets: Court dockets are notoriously crowded in Honolulu, especially from the Covid-19 pandemic. The pressure on prosecutors to clear weaker or less important cases from the dockets is strong. Your lawyer may be able to give the prosecution a reason to drop your case to make room for other cases.
- Intervene before your case gets attention: Before the prosecutor devotes time and energy to your case, your lawyer can step in and negotiate with them. Prosecutors may be more likely to offer a plea bargain when they are not deeply involved in your case.
Fighting for a Plea Deal
While the choice to accept a plea deal is yours, your lawyer can push for one in negotiations. This usually takes place before your trial. Your defense attorney may use the above tactics to show weaknesses in your case or present opportunities for a mutual agreement.
For example, a criminal defense lawyer may convince the prosecutor to reduce a felony charge down to a misdemeanor, which carries a lighter sentence.
In other cases, your attorney might convince the prosecutor to recommend a sentence that is less harsh if you agree to plead guilty. If they do that, the judge is likely to listen and impose a more lenient sentence.
Michael Fayard Is on Your Side
In criminal defense, negotiations make or break your future.
Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney, has been fighting for his clients for years. As a former prosecutor, he knows how to negotiate with the prosecution to seek the best possible outcome for his clients. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call (808) 445-6708 or contact us online.