Getting to the Other Side - Sage Words from a Criminal Defense Attorney

The Importance of Having a Good Attitude

Mike Chastaine, founder of The Chastaine Law Office

The criminal justice system can be a harsh mistress. It is not very sympathetic or caring. Sometimes people screw up and make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes rise to the level that law enforcement gets involved and people are prosecuted. If this ever happens to you, you need to determine how you are going to get to the other side.

Having good legal counsel will always help you obtain the best outcome. But what is the best possible outcome? In many cases, the best outcome includes a period of incarceration. If you are being prosecuted for a federal offense, most likely you are looking at prison time. Even if the case is a local state offence, you may be looking at time in a local jail or even a state prison.

Outside of having good legal counsel, your best ally is your attitude. It can also be your worst enemy. Your attitude with your legal counsel, law enforcement, and the court is critical in achieving the best outcome. Regardless of whether you feel that the charges are unwarranted or unfair, you must cultivate and maintain a humble attitude. You need to avoid blaming the pre-trial service person, the probation officer, and certainly not your attorney. Even if you are falsely accused, these people did not create YOUR problem.

As in most situations in life, a bad attitude will not get people to go out of their way for you. Conversely, a good attitude will increase the chances that you will be given extra leeway. At least you won’t be unnecessarily limited because of something in your control.

Because you are accused of a crime, everyone you interact with, outside your attorney, will assume you are guilty and will treat you as such. This includes law enforcement, pre-trial services, court staff and anyone else involved in the system. This can be very frustrating, especially if you feel you are innocent. Getting angry and refusing to cooperate because it is “unfair” is not going to get you anywhere. Having a bad attitude because people are treating you like a criminal, will not get you the results you desire.

Rightly or wrongly, being accused of a crime is tough. Maintaining a good attitude and a cooperative frame of mind will always improve your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.

About the Author: Michael Chastaine is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney in Rancho Cordova. His firm works exclusively on criminal defense and DUI / DWI cases and always offers a free consultation.