Hiring the right criminal defense attorney to handle your criminal case could make the difference between spending time in jail or prison and being cleared of all charges and going free. Finding the right lawyer isn’t easy, so here are 10 sure signs that you are about to hire the wrong criminal defense attorney. If a lawyer that you are talking to exhibits any of these signs, you may want to keep searching.
If a defense attorney you are talking to guarantees you a positive outcome in your case, it should be a major concern to you. No lawyer knows how a case will end, so you should only trust a guarantee that the attorney will work hard to help you.
In fact, it is against the law and in violation of State Bar rules for a lawyer to guarantee a specific result in any case. If your lawyer is willing to break the law and violate ethics rules, it is probably not a good idea to hire that lawyer.
Many lawyers will do whatever it takes in an attempt to have you pay them money. This includes telling prospective clients like you whatever the lawyer thinks you want to hear. Someone accused of a crime wants to hear that they “don’t have to worry” and the lawyer “will get the charges dropped.” Do not hire a lawyer that makes such a promise to you. No lawyer can really know that your charges will be dropped.
No Costs and Contracts
If an attorney you are speaking to doesn’t provide the costs of his or her services and contract terms to you in writing, that’s a red flag. Do not hire an attorney unless the terms and conditions of his or her services are spelled out for you.
By state law, the lawyer must provide you a written copy of the retainer contract that has been signed by both you as the client and by the lawyer. If this does not happen, you should not hire that lawyer.
Lack of Expertise
Attorneys often have knowledge about many different areas of the law. However, most attorneys do not have specific experience defending clients charged with the crime you are facing. If an attorney you are considering hiring lacks experience with the crime you are accused of, you will likely not be getting the best possible defense.
Lack of Communication
An attorney literally has your freedom in his or her hands. If your attorney rarely keeps you up to date on new developments involving your case, how can you be at ease? You and your attorney should be communicating constantly through in-person meetings, email and phone to build a winning defense strategy for your case.
Wanting You to Plead Guilty Early
Plea deals sometimes make sense, but agreeing to plead guilty should only be a decision made after exploring all of your possible options. An attorney who wants you to agree to a plea bargain early on in your case may not be fighting hard enough for you.
Previously Revoked or Suspended Law License
If the attorney you are speaking to has ever lost his or her license to practice law or is in bad standing with the California State Bar, it likely means he or she has been dishonest or violated State Bar ethics in the past. Knowing what’s at stake with your case, is there any reason to risk your freedom with a lawyer who has a record of prior discipline from the State Bar?
The Lawyer has Never Worked in the Court Where Your Case is Pending
Often people accused of crimes call us after they have hired an attorney from Los Angeles when there case is in Riverside or San Bernardino. We often wonder why would someone do this. A lawyer whose office is in Los Angeles handles primarily cases that are near his office.
A Los Angeles lawyer will likely not be handling cases in another county. In addition, the lawyer from Los Angeles will likely not know the district attorneys and judges in the court where you are facing the charges. Finally, the Los Angeles lawyer will have to travel long distances to reach the court. This is more time and costs that you will incur.
You should strongly consider hiring a criminal defense law firm with extensive experience in the court where your case is pending. This means you should look for a law firm that has an office in the same city as where you are going to court.
More Friend Than Attorney
It is great to have an attorney who supports you, but only to a certain extent. If your attorney is crossing the line between professional and personal, it may be time to hire a new attorney.
Many lawyers claim that they have decades of experience handling criminal matters, but many times, it is not true. Some may be lying about when they started handling criminal cases, and many others may lack experience with the specific crime you are accused of. It’s important to hire an attorney who has actual experience with criminal cases like yours.
Nothing will ever truly compare to your own personal experience with an attorney, but you should know about the experience other clients have had. If previous clients have given the attorney or law firm poor reviews or the lawyer has a bad track record, your experience probably will not be any different.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
Hiring the right criminal defense attorney is an important decision that can severely impact the outcome of your case. That is why you should do research and find the right attorney to represent you.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney near you no matter your location.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.