Interviewer: How long would shoplifting-related cases typically take or how long could they potentially take?
Paul Tafelski: That all depends on whether or not there is some angle for us to fight the case. If there is, then we have to go to trial and that takes longer but if it’s a situation where we’re trying to do damage control, those cases can start and finish within six weeks or so. Sometimes, we want to slow it down because we want the opportunity to demonstrate something to the court in order to prove that our client is a positive person and a good person in the society, so sometimes we slow them down on purpose to prove our case.
Common Client Concerns When Retaining An Attorney to Handle a Theft Charge
Interviewer: What typically is their state of mind when they meet with you and what are their main concerns?
Paul Tafelski: Typically, the number one concern is whether or not they’re going to jail. The number 2 “state of mind” is freaking out, and number 3, they are usually just scared and unfamiliar with the process. They need help understanding the actual charges against them, what the court procedure is going to be like, what is their judge like and what’s the likely outcome. Those are the things that they usually care about most.
A Defendant Has Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain by Consulting with a Competent Defense Attorney
Interviewer: What sort of last bit of advice or anything that I may have missed in regards to theft charges as information that people should know?
Paul Tafelski: Basically I would say call me, don’t be afraid to call me, talk to me about your case because you’ve got nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. It all comes back to the idea that you don’t give up no matter how bleak the situation may look; you do not want to give up because there is always room to improve the outcome.
The Qualities to Look for When Retaining An Attorney For A Theft Case
Interviewer: What are some qualities in an attorney that someone should be looking for?
Paul Tafelski: Somebody that you can communicate well with and somebody that has significant amount of experience dealing with your type of case and preferably somebody who’s got experience dealing in the court where your case is going to be processed. Someone who has the confidence and ability to advocate on your behalf and understand you and get the feel for where you’re coming from and where you want to go.
The Red Flags To Look For When Retaining An Attorney for a Theft Case
Interviewer: What are some red flags too that people should be aware of?
Paul Tafelski: People that don’t want to listen too much to what you have to say, and people who’re telling you exactly what’s going to happen before they’ve even heard the story. People who don’t have very much experience. I’d say those would be the big ones.
It is Impossible and Unethical for An Attorney to Guarantee an Outcome
Interviewer: What about if an attorney gives me a guarantee and says, “Oh, here’s a guaranteed result”?
Paul Tafelski: Yes, that’s impossible. Anybody who does that really isn’t even acting ethically because we’re really not allowed to guarantee anything. We don’t have the final say and we’re there to advocate for the defendant. We argue our positions to try and convince the court of our positions but no defense attorney ever dismisses the case, so we can’t guarantee you anything.
Notable Case Studies Involving Theft Charges In Michigan
Interviewer: Are there any particular cases that come to mind that are like theft related that maybe shopping related but something outside of that? Anything that you would want to share to give someone an example?
Paul Tafelski: We recently were involved in a case where the client was charged with multiple counts of first degree home invasion and the sentencing guidelines (which the court is supposed to follow absent substantially compelling reasons), called for about 5 to 7 years minimum imprisonment. Based upon this client’s unique circumstances, we were able to convince the court to not give them any prison time and give them some county jail time with probation and that was a good example of never giving up and making sure that you know the exact circumstances of your case, your client and what you have to work with to try to convince the court that the client deserves something other than the standard treatment.