Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? — What Do You Think?
We’ve all seen reports about individuals who get so angry at another driver that they physically assault the other driver, even resorting to extreme violence. When that happens the offender is rightfully charged with a crime.But a recent case I heard about seemed to go too far in regards to determining a punishment that matched the crime.What happened was as follows: A young mother of three, Jessica Hall, was driving from North Carolina to New York for a family event, with her children and 6 month pregnant sister in the car. Jessica’s husband was not with them because he was away on his third tour in Iraq.
It was a hot summer day and the 25 year old Jessica was trying to follow her dad’s truck in traffic. Things grew tense as her sister started having false labor pains, while traffic slowed to just beyond a stand still.When a young male driver and his girlfriend cut her off twice, Jessica lost her temper and threw her McDonald’s cup of ice at the other car. Since the car windows were open, the ice, which was sticky from a soft drink that had been in the cup, landed on the girlfriend and inside the car, missing the driver. The male driver and his companion reported the incident to authorities. Hall was charged and found guilty by a jury of a felony. The minimum sentence was two years in prison. Even the “victim” driver and passenger were astounded at the conviction. They thought community service would have been more appropriate.Jessica Hall was in jail over a month and then went before the judge, who, luckily for Jessica, saw fit to reduce the sentence to probation for 5 years. She also had to pay fines and court costs for reckless driving and assault.An incident like this reminds us how easily a legal problem can happen to anyone. A conviction of a crime could send even a young mother of three off to prison for several years, leaving her children without a parent at home to care for them. That’s why it’s essential to hire the most talented attorney you can in a criminal case.
Consequently, you want to know your lawyer has experience and success in criminal matters and that the lawyer you think you are hiring is the one who will be actually working on your case – not some legal intern. You should be leery of lawyers, who charge very little— because they won’t be able to spend much time or attention on your case — which is a bad situation for your defense.Furthermore, the client should keep up his end of the arrangement by paying fees as agreed. When a client attempts to avoid paying or tries to renegotiate the fee after coming to an agreement, that is evidence of bad faith. It can have a negative impact on the lawyer’s commitment to providing his best efforts for your defense. There is also the possibility that a lawyer may even withdraw from the case if he or she hasn’t been paid. The client would then have to start over and try to find another lawyer — causing more hassle and time lost for the client.
Those are some of the reasons it’s important, above all in a criminal case, to pay good money for a talented, experienced attorney, and to make sure you keep them committed by paying on time, even if you have to borrow the money from credit cards, family, friends & other sources like home equity, or maybe even sell assets. After all, (while no lawyer can guarantee an outcome) if a talented lawyer can help you stay out of prison, you’ll be able to work and pay back the loans. You’ll still get to enjoy your freedom, instead of living with a roommate, named “Brutus”