If you look at a lot of defense lawyer ads you will run across the term “aggressive” as in “hire an aggressive defense lawyer to fight for you.” A lot of clients think that this is a always a good and desirable quality in a defense lawyer. Many clients equate aggressive with competent but this is not always the case. Defending a clients rights, getting a great outcome, and being able and ready to take a case to trial are not necessarily the same thing as being aggressive.
Often times being aggressive can mean just making the prosecutor angry and the client ends up worse off than they were off before. Here is an example: A client is charged with a felony and there is an offer to plead the charge down to a misdemeanor. An overly aggressive defense lawyer comes in and creates a lot of needless drama in the case, the prosecutor pulls the offer, the client goes to trial, loses and ends up with a felony on their record.
A good defense lawyer knows when to be aggressive but, more importantly, a good defense lawyer also knows when not to be aggressive in order to get the best possible outcome for their client. The goal is a good outcome to the case, not to be aggressive for no reason. The bottom line is when you are looking for a defense lawyer to represent you find one that is skilled, experienced and will work to get the best outcome possible and not just one that uses the word “aggressive” lots of times.