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Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 73
Experience:  Sworn to the California Bar in 2011. Former staff editor at The New York Times Co. and seasoned news professional of 20 years experience in the U.S. and abroad.
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I feel like my lawyer is not being an advocate on my behalf

Customer Question

I feel like my lawyer is not being an advocate on my behalf given my situation. I have no criminal history and therefore I’m a bit uneducated regarding the court system and what to expect from my representation. The situation- My wife and I were married Dec 31st, 2014. Since that time, I came to find that she is a habitual liar and had managed to accrue over $50K+ in debt on credit cards in my name. We went to counseling and she continued to lie and spend. When I mentioned divorce, she claimed she had cancer, which was just one of many lies. She kept giving me reasons to pro-long serving her divorce papers for one reason or another. She continually threatened that if I divorce her, she will make my life hell. At one point, I went to the sheriff’s office to ask if there was anything I could do to protect myself knowing that as soon as I served divorce papers, she would claim abuse. I was told there was nothing I could do. I have since served her divorce papers and she has since made my life hell. As predicted, she claimed physical abuse and I was arrested on domestic violence in August. I never touched her. There is a no-contact order in place and I haven’t been able to get back into my home since then. Two weeks ago I was put in jail as she claimed I texted her. I did not. I found out today that another charge is coming down from an argument that we had in April. Which we did have after I found more credit card debt, but I never touched her. My lawyer has made no effort on my behalf to get me back in the home. The wife has since relocated to out of state but comes back every few weeks to maintain residency. Her kids are enrolled in school out of state so I feel like it’s easy to prove that she’s no longer a resident. She calls daily on an unrestricted number. I’m her 3rd husband in less than 4 years and her 4th husband overall so I am speculating that she’s making it a habit to marry and rack up debt. She has made false statements all over social media. She has removed marital property from the home. I could go on and on. Trial is in November and I’m not sure to expect from the situation or from my lawyer. Should he be building a case to question her character or do I simply go into court and plead not-guilty? Are there things that he should be doing to prepare? Do I have any rights or can I charge her with domestic abuse for the threats, slander or harassing phone calls? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Scott,

First, I need to disclose that I am licensed in California, not Iowa, and in any case, lawyers here cannot provide specific legal advice because no lawyer-client relation exists. Consequently we can only speak to legal generalities, but that can help people get some perspective.

First, you personally cannot make criminal "charges" -- you can file a criminal complaint, but it is up to local law enforcement whether to follow through with a particular prosecution.

Given the scenario described, your remedies will lay in your defense and otherwise in potential civil actions.

In this day and age, allegations of domestic abuse tend to have authorities erring on the side of hypercaution and in favor of the person making the allegations.

When it comes time to defending against such allegations in a court of law, the prosecution will have to "prove beyond a reasonable doubt." So, if there was no physical abuse, and the person making the allegations have no corroborating ]witnesses or medical evidence to substantiate it, it comes down to he said/she said, and who is more believeable. In such cases, it's imperative the legal representative has enough information and witnesses to discredit the person who made the allegations of abuse: history of the lies and fraud and any and all other incidents of dishonesty.

Former husbands who have been lied to and treated similarly are ripe, and that may establish a pattern if she made similar allegations in the past.

With respect to the other facets, you really should consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for both the criminal and civil actions.

You should not feel self-conscious about seeking a second legal opinion, and I urge you to do so.

I understand it's another consultation fee, but it may prove invaluable in terms of yourr reputation, criminal record and long term financia/creditl health: please don't let these facets go unattended!