While criminal defendants are in charge of three decisions—(1) what plea to enter; (2) whether to waive the right to a jury trial; and (3) whether to testify on their own behalf—strategic and tactical decisions are the exclusive province of the lawyer after consultation with his or her client. And, even for those strategic and tactical decisions, "consultation" does not mean the attorney must ask a defendant's permission—it merely implies a general discussion between counsel and the client.
I generally discuss the options with my client only after reviewing the reports and video, if available, in person at my office. We then make a decision on whether to pursue a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office or whether to set the matter for trial and challenge the charges filed in the case. Plea options must be fully considered if the weight of the evidence goes against the client. In some instances, however, a plea may not be considered if the client demands a trial or the evidence against the client is not persuasive. Furthermore, if the client is a Commercial licensed driver or licensed in a profession that prohibits certain convictions, for example DUI and drug possession convictions adversely affect a CDL holders, then a plea agreement is not an option. In this instance, we consider filing Pre-trial motions to suppress evidence or limit the introduction of evidence if a valid issue exists. Unlawful searches, for instance, could lead to the suppression of evidence (marijuana, prescription pills, breath test results, etc) and result in the dismissal of the charges. In the end, a complete examination of the facts with the client is crucial to ensuring a smart and practical approach for the defense.
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