By William L. Baskette, Esq.
One incorrectly thinks that if he only tells his lawyer the good side of his case he is helping himself. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a lawyer to competently represent you he must know all of the facts of your case – the good, the bad and the ugly.
If the lawyer knows the goods facts he doesn’t have to concentrate on them and can blend them in with the bad and the ugly facts in an effort to take the wind out of the prosecutor’s sails.
What does a lawyer do with the bad and the ugly facts?
He reviews them to determine their impact on your case.
He looks for other facts relevant to your case that may reduce or do away with the harshness of those facts.
He looks for legal defense to overcome the law against you.
He looks for ways to reduce the punishment to be imposed on you in the event your guild must be admitted in a plea bargain agreement.
If you fail to tell your lawyer all of the facts, testimony he did not expect will hurt your case. This kind of testimony could be been handled differently by your lawyer had he known of it in advance. When this sort of thing happens at trial, it makes you look very bad in the eyes of the court or the jury. You will be angry with him and blame him for loss but the cause of the fault really lies with you.
One of the things you hire your lawyer to do for you is to control or handle the consequences of negative occurrences. He cannot do this you when you withhold facts from him. Remember! No matter how much the bad or the ugly facts embarrass you, you must tell your lawyer about them way in advance of trial. If you don’t tell the truth, you lose control over important portions of the proceeding or trial. That is your fault. You just defeated yourself.
Even when witnesses are unfriendly or against you, tell your lawyer who they are and what they know. Helping your lawyer prepare your case is very important to you, and can make the difference between freedom and jail.