You Only Need a Lawyer if You Are Guilty! WRONG!
Oct 07, 2014
I don’t need an attorney! I can just clearly explain what happened. I am innocent and they will see that from my story. Right? WRONG! Unfortunately, that is not the way our court system works. Everyone has seen a news story about an innocent person spending years in prison, only to have their innocence proven years later. This is so common that almost every law school has created an Innocence Project. In order to prove your innocence you need to be very careful on how you proceed. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Anything you say can be used against you!
Whether you are in the police station giving your statement or talking to the district attorney about your case, just like the Miranda rights state, “everything you say can and will be used against you”. You may be thinking that you are just telling your side of the story; however, you are giving them ammunition to use against you. As attorneys, we know that the most damaging piece of evidence in a case can be our client’s own statement.
For instance, people accused of domestic abuse will tell the police that they yelled at their spouse, but never laid a finger on them. In Wisconsin, domestic abuse includes disorderly conduct against a spouse and disorderly conduct includes yelling. Essentially, this person has just admitted to domestic abuse.
You know you are innocent. However, proving that and communicating it with the court and judge is not that easy. You cannot just walk into court, tell the judge you didn’t do it, and expect the case to go away. You need to follow court procedure and file the correct motions before the court will hear your argument. Many times, the court will require a trial to determine your innocence, which means you need to be prepared to enter evidence and testimony to a jury.
No Do Overs
It is a common misconception that a person can appeal a court judgment if they don’t agree with the outcome. However, you cannot take your case back to court just because you do not like the judge’s decision. When a person appeals their criminal case to the court of appeals, the only review the court does is to see if the original court honored your constitutional rights and followed court procedures. They do not review the judge’s or jury’s decision to decide if it is fair. Whether you represent yourself or have an attorney you only have one opportunity to prove your innocence.
What Should I Do?
The first thing you need to do is consult with an attorney. A criminal defense attorney can review your case, advise you on the best way to proceed, and the potential outcomes of your case. You need to have someone with experience and an impartial point of view advise you. There is an old saying, “anyone who represents themselves in court has a fool for an attorney”. Your future and freedom are at stake - don’t risk it!
Pedersen Law Office offers free consults in all of our areas of practice and will meet with you personally to discuss your specific circumstances and see what options are available for you. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.