Considerations When Lawyers Defend Women Against Nonviolent Criminal Charges

Criminal defense lawyers know the statistics regarding the rates of female offenders for certain crimes, and that men commit significantly more offenses across the board. A woman who has been charged with a crime and needs an attorney may check out a website such as to learn more about one particular organization and to begin the process of obtaining aggressive legal representation. Violent crimes usually result in the harshest penalties, but the conviction of nonviolent offenses can also compel a judge to issue a sentence of incarceration. And women are much more likely to be charged with nonviolent crimes instead of those causing bodily injury or fatality.

Lawyers also know that various personnel in the court system, as well as juries, tend to be more lenient toward women who have been charged with crimes. They can use this fact as part of their defense methodology, learning which aspects of their client’s lifestyle and personality will be persuasive for a lesser sentence. For instance, a woman who is the mother of young children and has been charged with a nonviolent crime may be presented as necessary for the children’s well-being. She would thus deserve a sentence of probation if convicted or if negotiating a plea bargain.

In addition, women are substantially less likely than men to be repeat offenders, which is a statistic a firm can use persuasively. If this is the client’s first criminal charge, a case can be made as to the improbability of her acting in this way in the future. The two main exceptions to this are prostitution and drug-related offenses.

Some criminal offenses actually make juries feel sympathetic, which can lead a district attorney or judge to be more responsive to a plea deal. For example, a woman who shoplifts food or basic necessities for her family, who lives in poverty, may be viewed as a sympathetic figure. There would be no benefit to her, her children or to society in general for a sentence of incarceration. Instead, a sentence of probation with a community service requirement, along with counseling for more effective life strategies, could be advisable.

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