5 Tips to Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
In this article, the Rodriguez Law Group discusses 5 tips to choose the best criminal defense lawyer. When you are facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, CA, it can feel like the whole world is against you. The full weight of the government is bearing down on you, and nobody seems to care.
You have the right to an attorney under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The legal system often seems incredibly biased against defendants. The one thing that stands between you and time behind bars is an aggressive defense lawyer.
#1 Find Out How the Lawyer Will Communicate With You
The first tip to choosing a good lawyer in California is to consider how responsive and patient a potential lawyer is with you before you hire them. Typically, before hiring an attorney, you will contact them to set up an initial consultation. Many attorneys offer this first meeting at no charge.
If the law office that you contacted takes more than one business day to get back to you to set up a meeting, they might not be the best choice. Imagine how long they will take to respond as your case goes on! You need a law firm and attorney who will respond to your inquiries promptly.
Another key attribute of a good lawyer is patience. Whether facing charges for robbery, DUI, or drug possession, you are going to have a lot of anxiety and a lot of very legitimate questions from start to finish of your case. A good lawyer will listen compassionately and respond to all your questions. You don’t want a lawyer who seems too busy for you. Or one who doesn’t take your questions seriously.
#2 Ask About Experience with Your Type of Case
Because the law is so complicated, you should consider the experience of a criminal defense lawyer before you choose them. You can usually find this information in the “About Us” section of a law firm website.
Lawyers often list how many years of experience they have in their bio or profile. Don’t be satisfied with generalized legal experience. If you are facing criminal charges, make sure those years of experience are actually in criminal defense work! Some attorneys may have little or no experience with the type of case type you have.
A lawyer who served as a prosecutor for several years will have an advantage because they’ve seen the other side. Prosecutors see all kinds of cases and will have a breadth of experience in criminal law.
At the least, you’ll want someone who has years of experience in criminal law and ideally has handled the specific charges you’re facing. For example, if you’re facing a homicide charge, you want to be sure your lawyer can handle a case with such high consequences.
#3 Look for Favorable Google Reviews
When picking a lawyer, you will likely come across Google reviews on their website or from the search results. These can be helpful to see first-hand experience from others who have worked with the attorney. Obviously, you hope to find glowing reviews about the lawyer you are thinking of hiring.
Facing criminal charges is never easy. Receiving some negative reviews is normal. If you see negative reviews, look at how the attorney responds to them (or if they respond at all). Too many negative reviews can be a big red flag.
#4 Check for Ethics Complaints or Attorney Discipline
In California, you can look up every lawyer licensed in the state to see if they have ever gotten in trouble with the California State Bar. When someone thinks a lawyer acted unethically or committed malpractice, they usually make a complaint to the state.
In 2020, the State Bar disciplined 180 attorneys, disbarring 97 of them and suspending the license of 114.
When choosing your criminal defense lawyer, look them up before hiring them here. Simply search their name, and you can view formal disciplinary action against them on their profile. Even the best attorneys will pick up a complaint or two during their long careers. But being formally disciplined is uncommon and should be considered a red flag.
#5 Find Out the Lawyer’s Reputation at Trial
If you are hoping to choose the best criminal defense lawyer in California, you need to find one with a reputation for successfully taking cases to trial. A reputation like this is the best tool to have on your side during your case. An aggressive defense lawyer with a winning reputation in the courtroom strikes fear in the hearts of prosecutors. Prosecutors hate to lose at trial. They’d rather offer a favorable plea deal than risk a loss at trial. They also get nervous and start thinking about weaknesses in their evidence against you as your lawyer pushes towards trial.
You can read reviews online and check an attorney’s website to see if they talk about their trial experience.