It plays a great deal into the ultimate outcome of your case if you have a clean record. However, even if someone has an excellent background and has done great things, that won’t be the difference between a plea deal and a dismissal. What it can be is the difference between a bad plea deal and a better plea deal. What I do with my clients is give them an information sheet; I have them write down all of the background information about themselves. For example, do you volunteer, do you have a job, do you go to school. I ask them to tell me about their upbringing so that I can build a picture for the prosecutor and humanize my clients. My goal is to not have the prosecutor think of my clients as merely a number associated with a crime.
I want them to think of my clients as the single mother that is taking care of her kids alone, the hard working student, the person with the full-time job, the person that volunteers at the animal shelter or little league, etc. Basically, I want the prosecutors to think of my clients as somebody who is making a positive contribution to society, not somebody who is commits crimes. Hopefully by conveying this information to the prosecutor, there is something there that the prosecutor may relate or empathize with, which would make it harder for them to punish my client more severely.
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