Getting Through the Emotions of Being Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the most challenging things for any one charged with a criminal offense is to deal with the emotions that accompany this experience. I have helped countless people charge with crimes and understand; the range of emotions and how I want you to feel through the process and ultimately at the end, relived that the experience is behind you.

The first day is the hardest for anyone charged. Often, I will speak to clients early in the process. My typical client will ask questions like the following:

  • Will the case get dismissed
  • How long will it take
  • Will I have to speak at court
  • Do I have to tell my job
If it is an OUI or driving related, when can I Get my license back

The best way to ease your anxiety after being charged is to speak with a lawyer. Most clients will tell me they feel better after having spoken to me about the case. At the initial meeting or phone call, I can review the report if you have it; if you have the report, I can give an outline of how I think the case will go and the issues in the case. If you do not have the report, I can listen to your version and explain the court process and what I see are the major issues in the case. But people charged are often most nervous because they have misinterpretation of what to expect in court. When people are informed of what the process is, it eases some of the anxiety.

One of the most common questions during this initial conversation is what are my changes, or what percentage do you think of me being found not guilty.

As your lawyer, I think it is important to ease your anxiety about the process, explain as much I can and give you as much information as possible so that you understand what is likely to happen. However, I think it is equally important not to give false promises, or give certainty where there is none.

Often in more complex cases, I will tell the person, I am giving you three options and possible outcomes, it may seem confusing but I cannot simply it any further and still give you accurate information.

After the arraignment, the next court date is the pretrial hearing. This is the court date we should receive the rest of the discovery; often it takes a few pretrials to get all the information about your case.

Why does it take so long?

Clients do sometimes get annoyed with how long it takes for the district attorney to provide information. In some courts, I can waive your appearance to prevent you from having to go to these essentially procedural court dates. When I can excuse your appearance for court, I will. I understand that going to court means time out of work, away from your kids and additional anxiety.

The reality is that court can take time, but it works both ways. If we need more time for records or simply want to resolve the case at a different time, the district attorneys generally do not object. There can be a point where delay can be prejudicial and result in a dismissal; however usually it does not reach that point.

How did I help you deal with the anxiety and nervousness of going to trial

Preparing your case to trial generally involves three things that I need input from the client on; there is a lot of preparation that I do on my own, but in these three areas I need some input from the client:

  1. Going over whether the Client wishes to testify. I like to determine early on whether the plan is for you to testify; if you are gong to testify, I will prepare your testimony on several occasions. UItimately, I do not want you to feel confident on the stand; a client that can effectively testify can be a major help in establishing reasonable doubt.
  2. Do you have any witnesses? I will need to know the names and addresses of any one that you feel may be a witness in your case. A witness can be helpful to testify about the following issues:
    • Your sobriety on the night of the incident;
    • A medical issues you have that may not be documented
What happens if you are involved in a car accident with someone alleged to be under the influence of alcohol

If you are involved in a crash with someone under the influence of alcohol, it will make it unlikely that the insurance company will contest liability. Given the weak position that the insurance company is in with respect to settlement, the case would have greater settlement value. Your damages are still controlled by the amount of medical expenses, potential lost wages and loss of warning capacity.

But given the weak position of the insurance company, the case should settle. The insurance company may still contest the damages but it should be a case that should settle prior to a trial.

In terms of the amount of your damages, insurance companies take you as they find you. In other words, if you have a bad knee and it is made worse by the accident, the insurance company cannot claim that you had a bad knee anyway and are not entitled to recovery.

What happens if I am in a car accident with a friend and do not want to sue my friend

Many people who are seriously injured in a car accident do not want to file a claim because a friend was the driver and at fault. The person feels as though they do not want to sue their friend.

This type of thinking is unwarranted. While if the case went to a lawsuit your friend would be a party to the suit, the action is really against the insurance company. After an accident when the driver is at fault, the insurance company will be raising that drivers rates regardless of whether anyone was injured if there was a potneitla for an injury. Once there is an accident, the insurance company has evidence that justifies it in charging a higher premium.

By not making a claim, you forfeit potential chance for recovery without benefitting your friend in any material way.

If you are involved in an accident when the driver is at fault and you were injured, you should seek medical attention and file a claim for your injuries.

Sometimes in car accident injuries are not apparent immediately. If you delay in getting treatment, the insurance company will doubt the veracity of your injure and claim that if you were not serious or not a cause of the accident. It is important to seek medical treatment if you feel pain or discomfort to document your injuires. Insurance companies only award damages for injuries that are documented. If you do not have documentation for the damages you are seeking you will not get a fair value for your damages.

Insurance adjusters get audited; the best way an adjuster can substantiate a payout on a claim if there are medical records and other documents that show the award was documented and reasonable. For example, you may have severely injured your knee, but if you do not seek medical attention for it, it will be difficult to convince and adjuster that you were injured. You can prove an injury without medical records, but it is less convincing. You can testify in court that you were hurt, but without the medical verification the claim will be viewed with sketpism by the insurance adjuster and jury.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
★★★★★
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
★★★★★
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
★★★★★
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
★★★★★
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
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