Early Legal Representation Can Help Your Case

Early Legal Representation Can Help Your Case

While no San Diego criminal defense attorney can guarantee the outcome of your case, one thing he or she can guarantee is that the earlier you hire a lawyer to represent you, the better your chances are of a positive outcome.
Early involvement of an experienced defense attorney in your criminal case is probably the single most beneficial action you can take when a criminal arrest is made or is imminent.
Consulting with a San Diegocriminal defense attorney not only helps you understand the charges against you, but provides you with legal guidance that could save you from even being formally charged at all. If you do end up being charged, having an attorney on hand will definitely help if you want to negotiate with prosecutors to lessen the charges filed against you.

Things to Remember After an Arrest

Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean that charges have already been filed against you. A lot can happen while prosecutors investigate a criminal case prior to the filing of formal charges.
The purpose of a prosecutorial investigation is to determine exactly what charges will be filed in any given case and against whom those charges will be filed.
Once the investigation is complete, prosecutors make the decision as to whom to charge and with what crime.
This means that as a suspect, you have a short window of time for you and your attorney to do some investigating of your own, present any relevant information to prosecutors, and encourage prosecutors to either not file a charge against you, or to file a charge against you that is significantly less than what you may have originally been arrested for.
An experienced criminal lawyer in San Diego can help you with these tasks.

Selection of a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve never had dealings with law enforcement before, selecting the right lawyer for your case may be the most difficult task you”ll encounter.
You’ll want to know about everything from ability to experience, and the price.
Finding a qualified lawyer with a positive attitude and a personality that you can work with are important to consider as well.
Below are some tips to help you select a criminal defense attorney that you can trust to do his or her best for you.

  1. Hire an attorney that specializes in criminal defense matters, not just some attorney that you or a friend is acquainted with. You want an attorney who is familiar with the prosecutors in your county who has handled cases similar to yours.
  2. A few minutes spent checking out an attorney’s website should let you know if you’ve found a qualified criminal defense lawyer for your issue.
  3. Find a criminal defense attorney whose practice concentrates on the area of criminal defense you need. You”ll find a number of attorneys who handle general criminal cases of all kinds. That’s okay; just make sure the lawyer has handled cases like yours before. You don”t want an attorney who only handles DUIs handling your theft case if he or she has never handled a theft case before.
  4. Skip the offer of a public defender unless you have no other option. Public defenders, while good, have little time and resources to devote to you individually. You can easily slip through the cracks.
  5. Look for a San Diego criminal defense attorney whose personality is one you can work with. Determining what qualities are important to you in advance of hiring someone will help.
  6. Ask friends and family if they could recommend a good criminal defense lawyer. You don”t just want a name, you want specifics of how that attorney helped your friend or family member.
  7. Check out any attorney you are considering through the State Bar Association. If he or she is in good standing with the Association and belongs to other organizations like the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, or state criminal defense lawyer groups, you know that he or she is probably highly interested in criminal defense law.
  8. Don”t rely on slick advertising by a defense attorney. Meet the lawyer first and determine if you have confidence that he or she will represent you well.
  9. Interview any San Diego criminal defense attorney you might be considering and find out about:
  • Experience level
  • Rates
  • Percentage of work that the attorney will do for you as opposed to his staff (if his staff does a lot of the work, find out their qualifications)
  • His or her take on your particular case, how he or she plans to proceed and exactly what he or she will do
  • Find out what ancillary services he might need and an estimate cost of these services (use of a private investigator, psychotherapist, expert witness etc.)

9. Make a bit of small talk with the attorney to make sure that you can work with his or her personality.
While your case should be the main focus of the conversation, you may be working with this individual for a long while and you don”t want to find out that your personalities are not conducive to working well together.
You need to be comfortable discussing all aspects of your case with this individual.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in San Diegoyou can work with may be the most important step you”ll take in your criminal case’s journey. Just remember that the sooner you get representation, the better.

Pedro Bernal is the lead attorney at Bernal Law. He is a veteran former San Diego prosecutor now working criminal defense. This blog post is intended as informational only and not intended as legal advice. To schedule a free consultation with Pedro Bernal, please call (619)-612-5922 to schedule a case evaluation

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