The Prosecution Overcharged My Case!
I have seen the prosecution overcharge cases on multiple occasions. The prosecutor’s office will, at times, define your alleged conduct as something much worse than it is. A misdemeanor will be elevated to a felony, for example, or a felony will be charged as one carrying much more punishment than it should. That doesn’t sound like truth and justice, does it?
There can be several reasons for a case to be overcharged. Until defense lawyers get involved, the prosecutors (who are human beings) hear only one side of the story. The police or the complaining witnesses unload with their side and the prosecutor doesn’t hear a word to the contrary. And, unfortunately, defense lawyers may not be involved until the case has already been accused or indicted. (There are exceptions…especially when the lawyer is hired early in the process and there is some form of evidence to support an opposing position). So, acting only on the word or evidence given by the complainant, the prosecutor files the accusation or indicts the case. It is extremely important for the lawyer to be thorough when talking to the client and finding out, in detail, what the facts of the case are.
Another reason that cases might be overcharged is that the prosecution is already thinking ahead to plea bargaining. One prosecutor explicitly told me that he added the biggest charge in the indictment in hopes that he would work a plea to the lesser charges without too much hassle.
Sad? I think so. I am convinced that the anxiety people experience leading up to the disposition of the case is twice as bad as whatever punishment may be inflicted. So many of my clients have suffered long, sleepless nights, loss of their jobs, broken relationships, substance abuse, and many other side effects of being charged with a crime (please note that I did not say convicted of a crime). That is yet another reason to go early in the process to talk with a lawyer who believes in the presumption of innocence and who treats each client like a unique, special human being. We take on the burden of your case for you. We provide you with honest feedback that can give you peace about the situation and, hopefully, enable you to think about everything else going on in your life. I like to think that my clients are able to dump the burden of the pending case on me and put their time and energy towards their kids, their jobs, their significant other, their hobbies, and everything else going on in their lives.
In my next blog, I will discuss some ways to combat overcharging by the State.
Always feel free to call us with any questions about your case. You will get to speak with an attorney free of charge. (404) 581-0999.