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Discomfort- Dealing with this companion as a criminal defendant

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Discomfort- Dealing with this companion as a criminal defendant- Thorns image

Discomfort as I await Virginia criminal court- What do I do about it?

Discomfort is a constant companion for many criminal and DUI defendants. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that for each of my  Virginia criminal defense clients who tell me that not a day goes by not losing sleep over their case, many more of my clients are experiencing deep unease many times weekly — if not daily — over their case, no matter how innocent or guilty they may be, or thing they are. If my criminal defense client is feeling anxious, depressed, angry or even maddened over their plight, I want to know, both for me to help them and for me to integrate those unsettled feelings into our defense. You have not come to me as your lawyer for you nor me to candycoat how you are feeling about your case and while awaiting court. Likewise, it did not sit right with me when our swimming instructor for the lifesaving unit told us to lie if necessary to calm down a severely injured person; that simply made me wonder how much I should mistrust health care and emergency personnel in the future. Instead, I at once realistically assess the hurdles and possibilities in your case, and work at once to diminish those hurdles and to energize those possibilities, and to keep you informed about that path, and to have you be part of developing an approach that pursues as much victory as possible for you in criminal court.

Facing and embracing your pain and discomfort can help you break out of that funk and reach new quantum levels in your Virginia criminal defense

One of the best personal and professional decisions I ever made was to participate in the then monthlong Trial Lawyers College, at that time on Gerry Spence’s beautiful ranch in Western Wyoming. In contrarian fashion in many ways, the college heavily focused on developing ourselves as humans fully discovering, facing, and owning our deepest discomforts, insecurities and fears, and embracing all of that, so that we can move on to the next quantum leap in our lives and careers. When a criminal defense lawyer or anyone else fully feels every aspect of life, that can at times be very painful but also can make the lawyer more powerfully effective for his or her client. I am not going to indoctrinate my clients into this approach. (If they want to learn some of these lessons, I will share that with them.) Instead, they know how deeply I care about them and their cause, and that helps them move forwards in this teamwork.

What do I do if my Virginia prosecutor, police, and judge seem to be trying to break my spirit?

Too much of the so-called “criminal justice” system focuses on an overly-simplistic plan of keeping the streets safe without sufficiently considering the humanity and rights (beyond what the law forces on those in the criminal justice system) of criminal defendants, the sources of lawbreaking, and reformation of the system to not criminalize what should not be criminalized, and not overpenalizing nor overincarcerating. The current system does foster actions by prosecutors, police, judges and jailers that either intentionally or unintentionally can break your spirit, or else cause you great discomfort. Pithy aphorisms underline that people can break our bones but not our spirits, but building resilience is what is needed to keep your spirit healthy and intact. This includes assuring that your Virginia criminal lawyer is devoted to your cause, and it helps for you to have one or more friends, relatives, or spiritual advisers on your side.

How do I cope with jail pending my trial and if sentenced to incarceration?

A Virginia criminal defendant who is denied release from jail pending trial would love to be in the shoes of a criminal defendant who is at liberty pending court, no matter the remaining discomfort from being a criminal or DWI defendant. If you are risking jail time either pretrial or even with sentencing, you can get some words of practicality and wisdom from me, but can also seek out former inmates who might want to help you. A common theme among those who have successfully persevered during incarceration is keeping their souls and spirits intact, continuing their spiritual practices, helping others (for instance through tutoring for GED classes, leading self help meetings, and helping prison hospice patients), and continuing some of their favorite activities that can be pursued in jail (whether that be art, writing, exercising, or anything else). Some jails and prisons are more committed than others on not breaking the spirits of inmates, knowing that breaking sprits is not necessary to maintain detention center discipline. You might also benefit from the following books by former inmate I know giving sound words of wisdom to current inmates: Fleet Maull’s Dharma in Hell. The incarceration chapter in Katya Komisaruk’s Beat the Heat. Fleet and Katya both had a head start with spiritual practices before becoming inmates, that would have helped their resilience while locked up.

Learning from owls in dealing with the discomfort of waiting for court

Owls are famous for being patient in waiting for and zeroing in on their prey. Rather than feeling like the hunted in discomfort as a criminal defense lawyer, you can turn that around to being the hunter for as much justice as possible for you. Time is a commodity that you can invest in, not only in preparing with your Virginia criminal lawyer for your defense and any possible testimony by you, but also in engaging in self improvement to assist your negotiation and settlement prospects, if that is the direction you choose to go. You can own your possible outcome in Virginia criminal court more than you may realize.

Overcoming discomfort in court

Make sure that you and your lawyer have the necessary stamina, energy and patience to possibly spend many hours in court, and, with jury trials, sometimes days. Make sure that your physical and emotional health are good for your court dates, particularly when considering that plenty of courtrooms and courthouses are places of discomfort, whether because of the court’s layout, poor ventilation, or being places of so much misery.

No pain, no gain. No burn, no earn.

No pain, no gain in many ways is an overused phrase. My late, great martial arts teacher Ben Lo breathed life into that, and added “No burn, no earn,” which was commensurate with the burning sensation that often accompanied his having us hold our postures for a long time, as he checked each of dozens of people in the room for correcting any improper form. Attorneys who shun discomfort — and want a comfort zone — may want to rethink whether they want to be criminal defense lawyers. When we shake up things — like shaking the tree — we can obtain bounty. Virginia criminal defense is heavy lifting, and we become much stronger for the accused by doing so.

Each moment is a gift. Each breath is renewal. Each challenge is an opportunity.

My foregoing life philosophy sums up how I as a Fairfax criminal lawyer can best serve my clients, how we can overcome discomfort, and how we all can thrive even in tough times, and how my accused clients and I can pursue the best possible defense. No shortcut nor instant pill will get you a great result in criminal court. You need to work smart and hard in your defense. This includes obtaining the right Virginia criminal lawyer for you, and working well as a team with your lawyer. You can do it.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz knows the proverbial blood and guts that fly in the criminal courtroom. Jon welcomes that fight and will stand by you and your cause at every turn as a defendant fighting Virginia DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges. Find out for yourself through your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending prosecution. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule your meeting with Jon.