By

Chris Fialko

 

Chris Fialko was hired to try to limit the damage in a corporate bribery scheme. The client had already pled guilty in federal court and hired Chris Fialko to help at the sentencing hearing. Fialko traveled to Kansas to meet with the client’s wife, children, brothers, and sisters in order to learn more about his life. Fialko wrote a sentencing memorandum that also focused on his client’s lesser role, and submitted that the client profited far less than the co-defendants. Although he was facing 57-71 months under Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge gave a downward variance and sentenced the client to 41 months instead.

Around 15 years ago I decided to adopt the strategy of over-informing my clients.  It seems like a simple and obvious idea, but it’s not.  There are drawbacks.

First, having a detailed discussion of sentencing guideline punishments can make the client worry that his lawyer assumes he’s guilty.  I don’t.  But I’ve learned, especially in federal cases, that the client really needs to understand what she’s up against.

Second, the client may become discouraged.  I give my client what I call …

The Roller-Coaster speech:  Defending a criminal investigation will be a long and scary ride.  Some days will have good developments, and we’ll feel at the top of the ride, and some days bad things will occur, and we’ll feel down at the bottom.  It’s important to try like hell to keep an even keel.

Defending a criminal case requires making many decisions along the way, and the client and I need to keep a level head at each decision point.

I’ve found the strategy of keeping my client very informed of the law, the process, and the facts helps us reach the best result.

Chris Fialko of Charlotte, NC defended a UNC-Charlotte student accused of sexual misconduct. He thoroughly investigated the case and fought for his client at a two-day long-contested hearing. The school’s hearing officer found the client not responsible for all charges.

The Fialko team defended a young man who was charged with felony obtaining property by false pretenses. The charges were issued after the client found a gig-work job for an online re-shipping electronics company.

We subpoenaed in-store video and online sales records that helped us show our client had no criminal intent. In addition, using computer forensics and a private investigator, we proved that our client had no knowledge that the items had been bought with stolen credit cards. The prosecutor agreed and dismissed the charges.

 

Chris Fialko of Charlotte, NC defended W.C., a college student who was accused of misdemeanor sexual battery after what might be described as a drunken hookup.  Although this was a misdemeanor charge, North Carolina mandates sex offender registration if convicted. Chris thoroughly investigated the case for many months, interviewing witnesses and examining text messages and social media data. Eventually, the District Attorney’s office dismissed the charge.

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