Question: What is the absolute worst thing you can do that can devastate your case?
Answer: The worst thing you can do to hurt your case is lie or exaggerate. Lying or exaggerating can devastate your case!
Let me explain how. Years ago a young 30-something male suffered horrible injuries in a truck wreck on a highway. I’ll call him Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was in the intensive care for 52 days, had multiple operations and had over $200,000 in medical and hospital bills. Worst of all, Mr. Jones had life-long nerve injuries that affected his ability to work and play with his child.
During his case, I discovered that Mr. Jones had a criminal history so I asked him, “Please tell me everything about your crimes.” I got a story that Mr. Jones had one crime, did his time in jail and has a model citizen ever since. Piece of cake, I thought.
At the trial, I explained that Mr. Jones had made a mistake, but he served his time and has gotten his life together. The jury nodded their heads in understanding and all agreed during jury selection they would not hold this against Mr. Jones. But there’s a problem: Mr. Jones lied.
During cross examination of Mr. Jones, the defense attorney held up a stack of documents about two inches thick that were certificates of conviction for some of the most brutal crimes you can imagine. Mr. Jones had many crimes in his past and he lied to everyone about his troubled background.
The case settled, but the jury would have punished Mr. Jones for lying to them. When you lie, you put your entire case at risk. Your lawyer cannot help you when you withhold information or lie about your past. You may risk your entire case over a seemingly minor lie, but when you lie, there is nothing your lawyer can do to help you. You’re on your own.
There is no need to lie or exaggerate. This is the worst possible thing you can do and it can devastate your case.
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