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Understand the consequences if you underestimate the legal ramifications for your life if you make the wrong decisions. Unfortunately most people go into some level of denial and minimize the trouble they are in. As a consequence they fail to do things they must and find themselves in much deeper legal troubles than they started out with. For an example, say child sexual abuse allegations rise during a divorce case, and you feel they mean little. Or your attorney says “they have no case.” So you do nothing or bumble along, and then you find criminal charges filed, or a juvenile court action filed against you, or worse find yourself in the three ring circus of all three at the same time. Had you reacted properly the eventual cost would be a fraction of what it will cost if things get out of hand.
Select the right attorney to represent you
There are many fine attorneys in America. Attorneys good at drug cases or speeding tickets, or good at representing women in custody cases, but who you may learn the hard way will send you down the toilet because they aren’t good on the kind of case YOU have. You should begin by checking out the lawyer you are considering hiring. It is wise to ask for the lawyer’s CV (resume) and perhaps determine how many cases like yours he has handled.
Build a war chest.
Most people don’t want to hear that this kind of case will be expensive. When you are falsely accused of child abuse, rape, or domestic violence you are facing a high probability of criminal charges, and if you are facing criminal charges in one of these areas you are facing a very high probability of conviction unless you take strong steps to prevent the issues from getting out of hand. This will require taking some steps such as getting specialized psychological testing and a properly designed polygraph or similar testing. As well as lining up other necessary evidence and experts. All of this will cost. You need to adjust your thinking to thousands of dollars instead of hundreds of dollars. There are those who promise cheap, quick and easy solutions. However you’ll likely find that they will not wind up really being cheap, quick nor easy. They can send you away for a long time
In selecting ANYONE to represent you, it is always a matter of Caveat Emptor, (let the buyer beware). You should never rely solely on anyone, not even ME! You can’t help defend yourself from a place of ignorance. You’ll need to educate yourself on the subject area of the allegations you are facing. When your team tells you that you need to do “A” it is important that you understand why you need to do that. Lots of time can be wasted trying to explain every step to you, and often the effort spent “selling” you on the need to do “A” or “X” becomes so tiresome that anyone will decide to stop trying. You need to understand why the things are necessary and not just be a cash cow and a passenger along for the ride.
The best results come from a fully involved and informed client. Many lawyers don’t like that, but the better ones demand it. Beware and don’t snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Do a time line
You will need to put a time-line in writing. Start from day 1 and go through to today in as much detail as you can recall. This will be a great aid to your defense.
Begin working on a witness list.
You will need to start compiling a witness list. The best form I have found is 3 by 5 cards, or in some cases 5 by 7 cards. Include the people’s name, addresses, phone information, as well as their employment and a brief biography. And also a brief bit on what they can testify to. Outline form is best. Don’t limit yourself on who you have down, use bad witnesses as well as ones on your side. Let us decide who is important and who isn’t. Often people you think are unimportant turn out to be the key to the case.
Often people in your shoes become their own worst enemies. You will have to watch what you say and do. An ill-considered comment can send your case into the toilet. One very key thing is getting you prepared to handle yourself as early as possible. A good team has someone who can do that, and assigns them from day one.
If this is a sex case, you will want testing that tends to disprove the allegations against you. Tests that relate specifically to what you are being accused of. So specialized testing is necessary. The same tact must be taken for domestic violence or any other allegation of misconduct. Show that YOU don’t have what it takes to be guilty.
Don’t Give Up – Stay Up.