The Difference a Lawyer Makes: Bar Fights and Prior History
For those who have been falsely accused and charged of a crime, it is understandable why they would contemplate not hiring a lawyer. It seems unfair that an innocent person should have to hire a lawyer to represent him against charges that are unfounded. In a perfect world, such defendants would not need lawyers, and the criminal justice system would yield perfect justice. But the world is not perfect, and there are many forces at work when a defendant comes within the realm of the court system. To safeguard against abuses of power, errors by the Commonwealth, and lack of trial strategy, it is critical to retain a competent and trusted Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer.
To illustrate the importance of experienced counsel, consider the following example (the example and the names are purely fictitious):
A group of friends are out one summer night enjoying the Virginia Beach bar scene when an inadvertently spilt drink leads to a verbal dispute, and subsequently, a fight. Jake, a college student, always carries brass knuckles in cargo pants pockets because he was once attacked by a stranger as a little boy. During the present altercation, an unknown man points a gun at Jake and only Jake sees the gun. Because he was attacked by a stranger with a gun as a little boy, Jake reacts immediately to this perceived threat; Jake lands a haymaker on the jaw of the stranger which causes the man’s brain to hemorrhage and later to die. Jake is charged with murder but he doesn’t seek out an experienced local Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer. He thinks he can represent himself “because he knows the facts exactly as they occurred” and since he didn’t do anything wrong in his opinion, and was acting in self-defense, “the criminal justice system will render him just results.” At trial, the state calls the bar manager as a witness to testify that three years ago she saw Jake throw a punch at a man outside in the parking lot, and “it looked like he was wearing brass knuckles then too.” Jake doesn’t know this is not proper, and so he doesn’t object. Since Jake has not objected, and since the criminal justice system is not perfect, the judge might slip-up and let the evidence come in. If Jake had a lawyer, he would have objected to the state’s attempt to call the bar manager to testify on Jake’s prior incident, and in all likelihood, the testimony would not be admissible.
In Virginia, the state can not use evidence of a person’s past misconduct to try and show the defendant was likely guilty of the present crime. In the above example, if Jake refuses to obtain counsel, his results at trial could be considerably different. Any defendant who takes his matter seriously should seek an knowledgeable, trusted local Virginia Beach Defense Lawyer who has a firm understanding of the rules of evidence and trial experience. There are matters which take place before and after trial which lawyers handle with precision and strategic logic; without the experience in court, it is difficult for the average person to adequately represent and defend himself under every theory available to him.