I recently binge-watched “Better Call Saul.” It’s a great show, and to me, it’s even more interesting due to how it portrays being a lawyer. While it’s not 100% accurate of course, a lot of what they show mirrors experiences I’ve had when talking to potential clients.
In one scene, a person who is suspected of a crime discusses their case with Saul who is trying to convince them to hire him as their lawyer. The likely criminal says something to the effect of, “If I hire a criminal lawyer, won’t that make me look guilty?”
I laughed out loud when I heard that because it’s something I’ve probably heard over 100 times in the last 20 years.
First off, hiring an attorney doesn’t make you look guilty, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. It makes you look smart. The police and prosecutors are not on your side and are not looking out for you. Innocent people go to jail every day in this country. So if you are in Chicago or anywhere else, getting an attorney when the police want to talk to you is what smart people do.
You’ve certainly heard the saying that anything you say can and will be used against you. That comes from what is called a Miranda Warning. The word warning is in there on purpose as in “warning, you should not talk.” This isn’t ripping on cops. There are good ones and bad ones. But neither of them are looking out for you or on your side. When you talk you can get in trouble. When your lawyer talks for you, it can’t be used against you. A lawyer will protect you whether you are guilty or not.
Beyond that, I can point to hundreds of cases where not having a lawyer or hiring one that doesn’t specialize in criminal defense can hurt you. Last year, the scumbags who murdered Ahmed Aubrey were in my opinion only arrested and then convicted because they hired a personal-injury-focused lawyer who reportedly let the client/murderer share a video of what happened with a radio station. You want to get a lawyer who is handling criminal defense all day, every day. Those guys thought they were innocent and only their stupidity led them to be arrested.
I don’t blame callers for not knowing this or being worried about how they will look. You can’t be expected to know what attorneys know. But hopefully you can trust that we are trying to look out for you and do what is best for you. Especially in Cook County where prosecutors and Judges can be tough, it’s really important to protect yourself. Call us at 312-346-5320 if you want to discuss a case. It’s free and confidential.