Legal Expertise

  • Preparation
  • Cross-Examination
  • Closing Argument
The defense of any criminal case, from misdemeanor assault to felony sex charges to violent felonies, must be serious and rigorous. Apparent criminal conduct is often only a small part of the story. The mental state of the accused may be what is most important in determining guilt. Many cases may involve momentary mental impairment, honest mistakes, lapses or even effects of long-term mental illness. Thought distortion due to the influence of drugs or alcohol may be involved. Each case is different and it is imperative to have an attorney with the experience necessary to employ and execute the right strategy in coordination with the proper experts.

Even when a distorted mental state is not at issue, it may be imperative to delve more deeply into the purported facts to develop the right story for a credible defense, remembering that the emotional encounter between two or more people resulting in an alleged criminal event is often akin to the fast-paced action of a climactic scene in a stage play or film, and therefore subject to more than one interpretation. It is imperative to break down an encounter into fine detail, anticipating the victim’s story, seeing its pitfalls, while preparing for meaningful cross-examination. The ongoing defense process is about finding out what was really going on, not what the prosecutor or police say happened, in those few unfortunate moments leading up to physical harm.

Finally, it is imperative to find a way to present your story to a jury at trial in a coherent way that resonates, connecting emotionally on a basic, human level. This requires a lawyer who can truly inhabit the world of the alleged crime, constantly asking questions about the case and refining his or her presentation to a jury.

Benjamin I. Schiff
Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer

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