Where there is smoke, there is fire.

We have all heard the line and intuitively understand its meaning. In life, the fire creates the smoke and not the other way around. In my line of work as a former-state-prosecutor-turned-defense-attorney, however, the gunsmoke creates the legal fire.

When a good person thinks about defending his or her family and loved ones, he or she too often focuses his or her time and attention only on the gear. Common concerns include which firearm to use and which ammunition to select. That’s all fine (and is, of course, very important) — we all like gear, and no one needs an excuse to purchase more firearms. However, professionals (such as police officers, prosecutors and judges) focus less on what you use and much more on how you use it. And guess what? Your jury will too.

I want to turn your attention to what may be the most important conversation you ever have if you’re forced to use your firearm in self-defense: shopping for the attorney who will keep you out of prison. What is that process like? What should you prepare for? How can you prepare? Space limitations preclude a full rundown within the confines of this article, but there are a few points with which I want you to walk away.

Nothing will prepare you for the raw shock of waking up and needing a criminal attorney. All the attorney websites and advertisements look and sound the same, for the most part. It is typically difficult, if not impossible, to grasp anything measurable that distinguishes Firm A from Firm B. (Advertising regulations in the industry are to blame for that.) One thing is for sure, though, as you quickly scroll through websites and reviews with a limited budget of both time and money, your freedom and/or livelihood hanging in the balance: You will regret not looking into this earlier.

Let me assure you of one constant when it comes to attorneys and life: The best professionals — the ones that you and your family deserve — will never come cheap. These attorneys will also almost certainly not accept an IOU as a form of payment. Money talks, and unless you have a bank account that’s large enough to shout, you’ll need someone to do your talking for you. Enter the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). Backed by the USCCA, you will have your pick of the litter when it comes to attorneys.

But hang on … you need to stick around to hear the best part.

Your defense will be spearheaded by top-tier legal talent, and if you practice what the USCCA teaches, you’ll be giving that attorney a winning hand of something that money can never buy: facts. The best attorneys cannot change what happened; they cannot change the cards in the deck. They can only spot both the good and bad cards that weaker attorneys miss, properly handle those cards in play and generally stack the deck to your maximum advantage. Never forget, however, that you are the determining factor of whether you followed the laws and employed a lawful use of force.

Thanks to the abundance of training materials, discussion forums and access to industry experts (which are provided as part of membership), USCCA members learn how to avoid or de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. But if a lethal-force encounter becomes imminent, that same training can help members survive the incident and take smart steps in its aftermath.

If you have never tuned in for a Live Training Broadcast; wandered the lecture halls, vendors and live-fire ranges at the national Concealed Carry Expo; or participated in the live AMA (Ask Me Anything) expert series, there is no telling how costly it may be for you and your family someday. I would strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to at least familiarize yourself with all the resources with which the USCCA arms its members.

Protecting yourself with the best legal team is invaluable. Protecting your family and your future with the best training is priceless. The USCCA is here to show you the path; all you need to do is walk it.

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About Tom Grieve

Attorney Tom Grieve is one of the most respected criminal-defense lawyers in Wisconsin. A highly awarded former prosecutor, he started Grieve Law, LLC, which is one of the top criminal-defense firms in the state. He developed a nuanced knowledge of Wisconsin firearms law. In addition, he will be starting a family law firm in 2019. Tom has also received his certification as a firearms instructor and participates as a speaker and panelist with the USCCA for live broadcasts, national expos and training videos. He is even serving as a speaker and analyst on numerous TV and radio stations as well as college and law school campuses.

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer for a specific case.