Not every case can be tried, but everyone still needs a good lawyer even when a trial is not the right option.
Recently, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys defended a woman who had six prior felony Retail Theft convictions. She had been to prison twice. Even worse, she was on videotape stealing from a store, and when the police arrested her, they found stolen items from other stores in her car. On top of that, she signed a confession.
Needless to say, going to trial would not have been wise. But our client also did not want to go to prison. Luckily for her, she hired the right lawyer. There are many talented trial attorneys who litigate with skill and passion, but who do very little at sentencing. We take great pride in our ability to minimize the negative impact of sentencing on our client's lives whenever possible.
Of course, judges will not go easy on a criminal defendant simply because he has a paid lawyer. To achieve a good outcome for a client, an attorney must be informed and persuasive at sentencing.
In this case, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys reviewed our client's criminal history, interviewed her about what happened in the store and at her arrest, and ordered a pretrial investigation and a TASC evaluation.
A pretrial investigation is a report on a defendant's background, such as family, employment, and education. A TASC evaluation is an evaluation to see if a defendant is eligible and acceptable for drug treatment and probation as an alternative to prison. Our client was found to be eligible and acceptable.
After acquiring the building blocks our attorneys needed, we began to construct our sentencing arguments. First, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys highlighted the fact that our client had gone about 10 years without trouble. Next, we got our client to obtain letters from friends, employers, and her daughter's school attesting to her good qualities, her long abstinence from drugs, and her commitment to her daughter. Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys also noted and emphasized the sections of the police reports that described our client as "cooperative." Finally, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys had our client provide us with photographs of her with her young daughter.
We requested a conference with the Judge and prosecutor, called a 402 conference, so our Chicago criminal defense attorneys could make our case for probation. Our attorneys showed them the photos, which humanized our client. We explained that she was terrified of being away from her young daughter, locked in prison, and was well motivated not to re-offend. Our Chicago retail theft attorneys argued that this was a relapse brought on by associating with the co-defendant, who had resisted arrest and was a fugitive.
Although the Judge denied our request for TASC probation, she did offer another type of probation called IPS, or Intensive Probation Services. It is a demanding probation with many conditions, such as a curfew and drug testing, but our client was happy to avoid prison and stay with her daughter. All in all, it was a happy ending.