Selecting the Right Lawyer for You
Naturally, when a taxpayer learns that he is under investigation for a possible tax violation the taxpayer tries to secure the best tax lawyer possible. Retaining a top tax attorney early in the process may have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. However, most people looking for the best tax lawyer or top tax attorney do not know what information to look for or questions to ask to determine which tax lawyer is best suited for their particular case.
If you have a potential criminal tax case and you are in the process of selecting an attorney, you have an absolute right to ask the lawyer for the results of his jury trials in criminal tax cases for the defense. It is important that you do your due diligence. Do not be afraid to ask for case names and numbers.
IRS Conviction Statistics
The IRS published statistics reveal that approximately 80% of criminal tax investigations result in an indictment. Further, over 90% of the indictments against taxpayers result in a conviction. Investigations are conducted by highly trained criminal division special agents.
The Importance of Evidence
An agent’s decision to request approval to seek an indictment is virtually never determined by your lawyer’s alleged contacts within the IRS, Department of Justice or United States Attorney’s office. The decision is seldom influenced by your perceived cooperation during the investigation or whether you have been a “nice guy.” Instead, the decision is almost always based upon evidence and the strength of the case. The Tax Division of the Department of Justice frowns upon losing any criminal tax trial. A loss by the government does not promote the objective of voluntary compliance nationwide. Too many lawyers and accountants try to “cooperate” and treat a criminal investigation as they would a civil tax audit. The results are far too often tragic. By the time they realize their mistake, it is too late.
Selecting the Best Criminal Tax Lawyer.
Often people who find themselves in a criminal tax case are hard-working and good people. Many are educated businessmen and women, professionals, politicians, and even celebrities. Most have never had any problems with the law in the past. These taxpayers are often anxious to resolve their case quickly and quietly. To accomplish their objective, they seek out the assistance of the best criminal tax attorney possible. However, the process of locating the best criminal tax lawyer requires a substantial amount of due diligence. There are literally tens of thousands of licensed practicing lawyers. It is virtually impossible to determine which lawyer is the best in any particular area of the law. Instead, a more realistic endeavor is to search for the lawyer that is experienced, qualified and concentrates in the area of law within which your case falls.
Most taxpayers will ask friends and associates for advice. Well-meaning friends will often respond with the name of the best person they know. However, they seldom know much about the credentials of the attorneys whose names they mention. Former federal prosecutors are sometimes selected based upon alleged “contacts” they have from the time they were a prosecutor. This seldom translates into a real advantage in winning a criminal tax case.
There is one single factor that may be the most important.
There is one factor that may be the most significant single factor when selecting the best criminal tax lawyer for your case. This single factor is important no matter what geographic location of your criminal tax lawyer. Whether you are searching for the best criminal tax attorney to represent you in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, or any other city in the United States, the jury trial record of the lawyer is an important indicator as to the lawyer’s abilities. Quite simply, in an area of the law were the IRS boasts that over 90% of its indictments result in a conviction, does the lawyer you are considering, win?
It is estimated that 90% of all criminal lawyers have never won a criminal tax jury case for the defense. For this purpose, “win” means the jury found the taxpayer NOT GUILTY on all counts. Many lawyers claim they have won cases but, when you look closely at the cases they cite you will find that they won a few counts but lost the remaining counts in the indictment. Often their clients were sentenced to serve substantial amounts of time in jail. This is hardly a victory for the taxpayer client. A true win for the taxpayer only occurs when all counts are either dropped by the government, dismissed by the Court, or result in not guilty jury verdicts.
A taxpayer must do his due diligence. Ask the lawyer for each and every name and case number of the criminal tax cases the lawyer represents that he has won. Look on PACER and read the actual jury verdict. If the jury found the taxpayer not guilty on each and every count and the taxpayer left the courthouse as a free man, it was a victory for the defense. The search for the best criminal tax lawyer should be a search of lawyers nationwide. Ultimately, you will locate the lawyer who has won the most criminal tax cases for the defense.