Florida Criminal Law Guest Articles – by the best criminal law specialists

Five ways to increase your suffering


Five ways to help your Florida criminal defense lawyer help you!

by guest author, Stephen G. Cobb, BCS

People don’t know what they don’t know. As a result, many people charged with a crime (and their family members) unknowingly do things that increase the risk of criminal conviction and a harsher sentence.

Here are the top five time tested methods to increase your risk of conviction, harsher sentencing and overall suffering:

1) Fail to follow instructions, from failing to complete a Fact Pattern Report to daily use of support materials to cope with stress.

Classic example: dressing “nice” for court instead of exactly as instructed. Did you know that a defendant wearing an expensive, nice, gray or black suit is more likely to be convicted than one wearing a navy blue one? This is precisely why we give EXACT instructions on what to wear to criminal court, how to cope with stress and numerous other things.

TIP: the support materials from Coping With Stress During Criminal Prosecution have been tested for over twenty (20) years, and clients who use the materials experience less stress and better case outcomes.

2) Pointless meetings and multi-part emails, especially “hand holding” appointments due to the failure to control criminal case stress.

Pointless meetings are defined as any office or phone appointment a client wants to schedule with the lawyer without a specific purpose related to the outcome desired. Pointless meetings are the single biggest obstacle to productive work. Lawyers only have so much time each day, and pointless meetings take time away from productive work on your case and put you at greater risk of a painful criminal sanction such as jail or imprisonment. Yet every day, pointless meetings are scheduled in general practice law firms that do not have a stress control protocol fo criminal matters. Here, you have a resource no other general or criminal defense law firms provide: Coping with Stress During Criminal Prosecution.

Tip: Follow the stress control program and let the criminal defense attorney’s law firm schedule your next meeting and save your questions for the follow through meeting which is normally scheduled after the Florida Criminal Case Discovery Exhibit has been received.

3) Payment plans for cases under $10,000.00. Classic example: prospective client “swears to God” that they will pay, the case closes and the client never finishes paying the bill. Many part-time, uncertified criminal defense lawyers that regularly take payment plans make up the lost revenue by taking on many times the case load recommended by the Florida Supreme Court. They are overloaded with cases and do not have the time to help people they publicly represent yet secretly resent.

Tip: The first step in any Florida criminal case is to raise money. Pay your legal fee up front, and you will go to the front of your defense attorney’s mind in a positive way. The greater the skill, the less likely your criminal defense attorney has spent their career chasing down payment plans.

4) Impatience.

Classic example: blowing up the phones or email demanding that the legal team “do something”. Many law firm websites brag about how “aggressive” their lawyers are, or give the impression that results will happen quickly. The reality is that most criminal cases in Florida just require time. Rushing through the minefield of Florida criminal law is an effective method to blow up your case – and your life. The truth is, many weeks and often months will pass before most of your “outcome” questions can be answered.

Tip: Use Coping with Stress During Criminal Prosecution daily. We don’t even need to ask if you are. If our phones are blowing up demanding pointless meetings or we receive multiple emails with multiple questions, we already know. We can tell by how you act.

5) Blame.

Finger pointing is so common that there is no classic example of this toxic behavior. Blame tells a legal team to worry more about defending themselves from complaints than defending you from criminal charges. Depositions are taken to CYA rather than to help your case. Files become filled with voluminous note taking as a form of self protection, and you suffer from a technically correct criminal defense that fails to protect you.

Tip: you want your legal team defending you from the government, not focused on protecting themselves from you. Use the support materials, and remember the legal team did not place you in the predicament you find yourself in – let your criminal defense legal team know they are appreciated so they will want to help you even more.

Five Steps for Success

Just as there are several ways to increase your suffering, there are several ways to increase the likelihood of a more favorable outcome:

1) Pay your fee without dickering and pay it in full, up front. Criminal defense lawyers resent fee dickering and payment plan cases, in large part because they never get fully paid. No wants a pay cut or to get a partial payment on payday, including your criminal defense lawyer who has an office to run and overhead to pay. When you pay upfront without nickle and diming, you get the best service because your file is internally ranked as a “10” or “A” client.

2) Follow Instructions. Listen carefully to all instructions and follow them exactly. Documents received at the last minute – or not at all – cause havoc in a criminal defense law firm. Problems that could have been avoided can erupt like a volcano in your life if instructions are not followed.

3) Cope with Stress. Successful criminal defense clients have a good handle on the stress of the process after the initial shock wears off because they are using the support materials. Whiners, complainers and blamers do not. This is the single most important tip in this entire article: coping with stress during criminal prosecution. In contrast, the effectiveness of many criminal defense teams has been compromised at exactly the wrong moment in trial because a client became high maintenance or even emotionally lost it before or during a trial.

4) Be patient. Law firm staff members and defense lawyers working on your case will hold your hand and comfort you through the process if you wish, but the time taken away from productive work is decreased. Blowing up the phones and multiple question emails are the single most effective way to increase your risk of a harsh jail or prison sentence.

5) Let the legal team do the research. Some clients who think they are helping their legal team actually damage their own legal position by performing their own research, demanding that their lawyers investigate fantasy defenses and burn the legal team’s most precious commodity – time – by forcing the legal team to run down rat trails.

You may notice a common theme: pay your fee up front, be easy to work with and control stress. If you do these things as outlined above, your case results will be far better than those obtained by high maintenance, difficult to deal with, stressed out criminal defense clients. You will pay good money for a proper and effective criminal case legal defense, so do your part to insure that it is as successful as possible.

– Attorney Stephen G. Cobb has been a Florida Bar certified criminal law expert since 2002. He is the first lawyer in the world to routinely use brain imaging in plea bargaining and sentencing mitigation in non-death penalty cases. He has appeared on various programs related to criminal law and teaches seminars on the use of brain imaging in the courtroom.