The Fear Itself.
Nothing is more frightening than being charged with a crime. The whole experience can be demeaning and demoralizing. When you are arrested and standing at a jail getting fingerprinted, you are confronted with a realization that you are now part of the criminal justice system. Whereby they can run your fingerprint against the thousands of criminals of all shades of life and you are in that system.
When a person is charged with a crime and comes to my office they are frightened, depressed, and worried to their core. It is not uncommon to leave the consultation with some of them crying, blaming themselves for the position that they have placed themselves and their loved ones.
Especially the loved ones. The guilt my clients feel toward their family is so powerful, many of them say that they would rather die than to have their children learn that their father/mother was arrested for a crime. I believe that is because everything you stand for, or ought to stand for, as being a parent comes crashing down in a thin veil of hypocrisy. That the one place in which you were adored as a provider and a role model is utterly shattered by a single event.
Yet we must never forget that a criminal charge is but a beginning of a long process, not an end in itself. We must never forget that what is alleged is just that, an allegation based upon facts gathered by the police at a short notice. That with all due respect to the men/women in blue, sometimes the charges do not fit the crime. Sometimes the pieces are missing from the puzzle that do not support the allegations. And as the criminal case progresses, I have often found clients coming to terms with what can be proven and the choices facing them with regard to a plea or a trial. The results may not always be a “not guilty” verdict, but it is also not the crushing punishment that the client feared at the beginning of the process.
And often times, the client is in a better position at the end of this criminal process, knowing that what they feared most was the fear itself.