How Can I Help My Case?
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How Can I Help My Case?
The first step to help your criminal case in Oklahoma is to hire an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. CANNON & ASSOCIATES is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for those facing Criminal Prosecution. Once you have hired an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney, there is much you can do to help your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney on your case. There are many things you can do throughout the process of your case to help your criminal defense attorney defend you. The biggest and sometimes hardest step is to listen to and trust your selected counsel. You must use due diligence in selecting your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, for one so you can be confident in following their advice.
What can I do to Fight my Case between court dates?
Many clients rightfully want to do everything they can to help their cause between court dates. I appreciate and encourage clients to be proactive with the disclaimer you should only do things for your case that you have consulted with your criminal defense attorney about previously.
Counseling: After consulting with your criminal defense attorney, seeking counseling is potentially a positive step to take to help your case. Counseling for an issue identifiable in your case or personal life can be of great benefit, such as: substance abuse, alcohol abuse, mental health, emotional health issues. Additionally, if you are seeking to resolve your case with a plea agreement counseling may be a condition of probation, which you get out of the way by completing while your case is pending. Prosecutors and judges look very favorably on defendants that take steps to address concerns or to simply better themselves. Taking steps to address an issue you or your attorney identify cannot be used against you in court. It is considered a remedial measure to address a concern and is not admissible to prove guilt.
Community Service: After consulting with your criminal defense attorney, completing community service (working for free!) may be beneficial to your case. Again, prosecutors and judges look favorably upon defendants that try to give to the community. Further, community service will likely be a condition of probation and you can knock this condition out as well, while your case is pending. Additionally, volunteering and performing community service looks much better to the prosecutor or judge in your case, if you are looking for a job or unemployed than simply stating you are without work.
Alcoholics Anonymous & Narcotics Anonymous: similar to counseling, attending NA or AA meetings can not only have a positive effect on your life, but a positive effect on your case. Your criminal defense attorney does not have to disclose to the prosecutor that you are attending these meetings, but it is a useful tool for your attorney to be able to reference the good work you are doing.
Complete Tasks: An experienced criminal defense attorney, in the right circumstance, will give you tasks to complete, while your case is pending. Upon consulting with your attorney, you may be tasked to write a statement, take photographs of a location, get contact information for witnesses (that are not victims or prosecution witnesses), and many other potential tasks. It is important to speak to your attorney before investigating your case, as discussed previously. You should take an active role in your case as long as you are on the same page as your attorney.
Biography: Your attorney can only articulate your life story, if he or she knows it. Every client that hires CANNON & ASSOCIATES is asked to put together an autobiography of the good things and the hard things that have happened in their life. It does not have to be a long story, just a page or two, but part of your criminal defense attorney’s job is to tell the human side of your story, which should soften the only story the prosecutor knows. You can collect photographs for your attorney of different accomplishments or highlights of your life. In one case, my client’s photographs of before and after suffering from methamphetamine resulting in the prosecution agreeing to his being placed on probation with treatment as opposed to going to prison for many years. Stories matter in criminal defense and no one can help your attorney tell your story better than you.
What can I do to prepare my case for sentencing?
In Oklahoma before any sentencing hearing you are entitled to and should exercise the right to a Pre-Sentence Investigation (“PSI”). You should prepare for this part of the process just as you have throughout your case, with continued communication between you and your attorney and preparing what to say and how to say it.
Obtaining substance abuse counseling, treatment, or even inpatient rehabilitation will not only be good for your health, if you have a substance abuse issue; it is vital to improve how the prosecutor and judge perceive you. Clients with substance abuse charges may receive a better offer in their case by simply obtaining counseling or treatment.
Paying restitution for property crimes or theft, prior to sentencing in your case, will also greatly improve how the sentencing judge and prosecutor see you and your case. Understand, you should not and in some circumstances, cannot directly provide restitution to the victim. You may however work with your attorney to present a proposal to the prosecutor to repay all or a portion of the requested restitution. Keep in mind restitution may be ordered as treble damages in criminal cases in Oklahoma, meaning you could be ordered to pay three times the requested damages.
All of these actions are steps towards “making the victim whole” whether the victim in an individual or the state as a whole. The judge and prosecutor must consider your steps in making the victim whole prior to setting your sentence.
I work with each client to draft a statement for sentencing, if they plan to enter a guilty plea. The statement is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from every other case on the judge’s docket and the prosecutor’s desk. Storytelling is alive and well in criminal defense. Your ability to tell your story with the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital to reaching the best possible outcome in your case. Creating a plan with your attorney sticking to it is key in this arena.
Do I simply have to Stay Out of Trouble on Probation?
No, probation in some respects can be more difficult than a jail or prison sentence. Often probation comes with multiple terms, costs, and expectations that must be met in order to not fail jail time or worse. You can be sentenced to prison for the entire length of your suspended sentence for violating probation. You can be sentenced to prison for the maximum sentence on your charge for violating probation on a deferred sentence. All that is to say, you are far from out of the woods of the criminal justice system after entering a plea. Unfortunately, time and time again defendants go to prison after violating one or more terms of their probation. Often these “violations” are technical, i.e. not criminal acts.
Life happens and sometimes things get rough; however, that is not a sufficient excuse for violating a term of your probation or failing to attend a class or complete community service. This is just one of the reasons why I fight so hard to get the most reasonable terms of probation for my clients and encourage them to complete the terms they can before we resolve their case.
Often criminal defendants are so happy to have their case behind them they forget the important of staying on top of their probation, which is why my firm goes over the terms of probation with every client before the day we resolve the clients case; the day of before the plea; and after sentencing. Additionally, I encourage clients to meet with their probation officer early and often to ensure both are on the same page.
The steps you take to address or defense your case before sentencing or trial can help you with the outcome of your criminal case in Oklahoma. It is important to know the attorney you hire is a Fierce Advocate and has experience defending criminal cases. John Cannon, owner of CANNON & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, will personally work along-side you during the entire process, including meeting with you in jail and guiding you through the process.
John has been honored by being identified as a Top 40 under 40 in Criminal Defense by the National Trial Lawyers Association. John has the experience you need and will bring it to bear in your case. Additionally, he has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for hundreds of clients accused of the wide variety of criminal charges, evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES to protect your freedom and Fight your Case. You may send an email inquiry, complete the contact form on our website, or call at 1(405) 657-2323.