Last updated on November 2, 2021

Judges & Juries Generally Perceive A Person Charged With Theft As A Bad Person

Interviewer: Do you think that there is some sort of empathy or some sort of understanding when it comes to a judge and perhaps a jury when it comes to someone’s reasoning behind stealing or are they always demonized?

Paul Tafelski: Generally, there is no understanding and there is no empathy and that they will simply look at you like a bad person and a thief. Most judges are smart people who will somewhat listen to what is presented to them if it’s done in a way that is more than just talk. That’s what we try to do in defending the client is cross over that barrier so that the judge or a jury understands exactly what really is going on here and how it can be fixed.  You can educate them and convince them of what’s going on. But they’re going to start it off with the opinion that you are a bad person and need punishment. That’s where defending yourself comes into play.

It is Not Advisable To Plead Guilty and Expect Mercy From The Court

Interviewer: A lot of people say, “Hey, look I can’t believe I actually did this.  Actually, I got caught red-handed, I am guilty as it says and I should just throw myself to the mercy of the court”, what would you tell that person?

Paul Tafelski: Even where you want to take responsibility for some kind of wrongful action and mistake, you still don’t want to just throw yourself on the mercy of the court because the court is not generally merciful. On the other hand, there are ways to take responsibility for your actions and yet still try to look out for your long-term future to try to protect yourself so that you don’t pay for a simple mistake with the next 25 years. That’s where it comes down to having proper representation and an experienced counsel who can navigate you in the best possible way through the system. Even in cases where you want to take responsibility, there’s no reason that you need to harm yourself further. It’s more important to deal with it in the best possible way and minimize your problems, and minimize the damage to yourself now and for the future.

The Benefits Of Retaining An Attorney for Defending a Theft Charge

Interviewer: Why is it crucial for them to have an attorney by their side and especially with a case that has to deal with theft charges?  Even if they feel like, “Hey, look I admit it, I’m guilty”, why is it important to have an attorney by their side?

Paul Tafelski: First of all, there are some people who probably would do a good job representing themselves if they put in all the time and effort to study everything about their judge, about their prosecutor, about the jurisdiction they’re in, about how they look, how the police report makes them look, understanding all the nuances of the case and the probation department and all that – there’s a lot of people who can do a fair job. I don’t think that just having “An attorney” standing at your side necessarily benefits you. But I think what truly matters is having somebody who is really experienced in this area of the law and has dealt with a lot of different circumstances over the time and has dealt with a lot of different judges and a lot of different prosecutors and can bring an understanding of what is going on to really make a difference in your case.

A Defendant Only Gets One Chance to Make a Favorable Impression in Court

You only get one chance to make the right impression when you’re in court. If you say the wrong thing or don’t say something you needed to say or talk about something that they’re not interested in, then you lose their attention and that’s it.  Your one chance is gone and you can’t call me later and say, “Fix it.” It’s too late. So the question is how much you want to gamble. Once you’re in this situation, you’re trying to protect your future as much as possible. What’s done is done a lot of times and we have to minimize the damage and move on and so we try to help you move on in the best possible way.  So it’s a question of how much are you willing to risk.

Posted in: Theft
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