If you are charged in a criminal case, you have a story. You know intuitively that you have to answer that "what happened" question, if only to yourself, your family and your lawyer. You understand that your freedom depends on the answer and ultimately, your story. And you likely understand that you should have a good lawyer to help you communicate the facts that you hope will keep you free. Believe me, you will not likely do it by yourself. That is the situation whether your case is civil (only money involved) or criminal.

Your story has to be refined, and a third person – your lawyer – is most likely equipped to do this. You need to define its core message and fight against the extraneous. Most people who call me about their situation have a core message, but it is lost in the detail they think is important. It goes something like this: 

"They arrested my son, but didn’t read him his rights. Then they took him to jail because he wouldn’t tell them who stole the car and then they put him in solitary confinement and won’t let him out until he tells them the names of the other guys who really did this. He was not the driver…"

A good lawyer will help you get through the extraneous and direct you to the core message – whatever that might be. Maybe the core (facts that make up the defense) is as simple as "I didn’t steal the car." Maybe it is more. In any case, an experienced criminal defense lawyer should be able to help you tell your story. Now you have to trust that lawyer to get to the stuff that matters.

And how do we do that? It’s not an easy thing to do sometimes. I am in a fraud case right now (a civil case) where the other lawyer submitted an eleven page brief that really got to the core. Mine was thirty pages and it wandered. So I kept refining the message until I was happier with the work, but in the end, I was amazed that anyone could cut through the clutter like the lawyer who was opposing our position.

How do we cut through that clutter and get to the core?

Write. Re-write. Refine. Cut. Re-write and do it all over again. 

I think the real answer is that we help you cut to the core by learning your story, and then working on how we tell it to the jury. So tell your lawyer your story, and let him or her cut it apart.