You’ve been arrested and charged with a serious criminal offense. It’s never happened to you before, and you never thought it would, but now that it has, you need the right criminal defense attorney on your side.
There’s no question that representation by a capable and qualified lawyer can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case. But there are hundreds of experienced defense lawyers in the San Diego area, and choosing the right one can seem like an overwhelming task.
Here are some suggestions to help you make this important decision.
Take Advantage of Free Consultations
Many criminal defense attorneys will discuss your case in person with no obligation. These meetings are typically an hour or so long and can help you get important insights into your case. Just as important, however, is the sense you’ll get of the lawyer’s style and whether you’ll be able to work together. Don’t be afraid to interview several candidates. You wouldn’t choose a doctor for a serious operation without getting additional opinions, and hiring a lawyer is no different.
And do your homework before the consultation. Write down your questions and be sure to bring all paperwork related to your case. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers by completing the contact form to the right or calling us at (619) 234-2300.
What Questions Should I Ask?
Here are a few of the more important ones:
- How much of your practice is devoted to criminal defense? A lawyer who focuses principally or exclusively on criminal defense will likely know the law and procedure than one who only takes the occasional criminal case.
- How much experience do you have defending the type of charge I’m facing?
- How many jury trials have you had, and what were the results? Contrary to what is portrayed on television, there are criminal defense lawyers who dislike trying cases. While your charges may ultimately be resolved through negotiation, you need a lawyer who is not afraid to defend you in court.
- Are you familiar with the court in which my case will be heard? Although there are state laws and court rules which govern criminal prosecutions, someone who regularly practices in your area will probably know how prosecutors and judges view the crime with which you’ve been charged. This sort of “home field” knowledge can be invaluable.
- What are your fees? Have this discussion up front. Depending on the specific charges, most criminal defense attorneys charge either an hourly or a flat fee. Some will offer a flat fee for pre-trial work with an additional fee if your case does go to trial. Be sure to ask whether there will likely be expenses such as expert witness or investigators’ fees.
- Will you handle my case yourself? Get assurance that, while he or she may delegate some routine tasks to others in the firm, the lawyer you meet is the one who will be handling your case.
At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, criminal defense is all we do. We know the law, the procedure and the local prosecutors and judges and will fight to get you the best possible result. Don’t wait – time is not on your side. Fill out the contact for to the right or call us at (619) 234-2300 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.