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How To Choose The Right Criminal Defense Attorney in San Diego

How To Choose The Right Criminal Defense Attorney in San Diego

Whether you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a crime, the first step you should take is talking to an attorney. You don’t always have to hire them – scheduling a consultation can give you the resources and confidence you need to handle yourself in the courtroom – but if you want the best outcome possible, it’s advisable to do so. Finding the right criminal defense attorney for you isn’t always easy, which is why we’re here to give you some guidance along the way.

Define Your Legal Needs

No criminal case is exactly alike, so good criminal defense attorneys in San Diego are trained to look for the variables that make each case unique. This is so that they can leverage specific, sometimes surprising, legal insights in order to prove that you should win the case. Even if the evidence is stacked against you, a good criminal defense attorney will be able to pinpoint arguments that could reduce your punishment. It’s especially important to find a criminal defense attorney because they have specific skills, including both examining and cross-examining witnesses, that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own.

That being said, knowing exactly what you need from a defense attorney is key in making the decision to hire one. Scheduling an in-person or virtual consultation is a good first step in defining those needs. They will help you decide whether you need a state or a federal attorney, what kind of specialization your attorney might need, and, if they aren’t equipped to handle your case, may be able to refer you to some other attorneys in the area.

Consider Experience & Success Rate

Ideally, you’d be able to find an attorney based on referral alone, but that isn’t always the case. For example, if you’re facing a DUI charge in San Diego, look for an attorney who has successfully handled local DUI cases before. If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, find one who specializes in domestic violence, and so on and so forth. When factoring in an attorney’s success rate, try to focus on the cases that resemble yours the most. There are plenty of reputable websites that allow you to search for reviews of prospective criminal defense attorneys, many of which give some detail about the individual cases.

If you aren’t sure, here a few questions you can ask to get a better idea of what an attorney can offer:

  • “How long have you been practicing criminal law?”
  • “Have you previously represented people charged with [your charge]? How did that turn out?”
  • “What are my options?”
  • “What can I do to help my case? What can I do to avoid damaging it?”

Examine the Fee Structure

Once you’ve chosen an attorney, you’ll want to look for a clear fee structure. Remember, you get what you pay for. Going for the cheapest option, especially when it comes to legal defense, will generally affect the quality of your representation. A good attorney may not be cheap, but they will offer a simple and clear fee structure. Most attorneys will be happy to explain and answer any questions you may have regarding their pricing. After all, confusion on your end means a headache on theirs.

Look for Enthusiasm & Confidence

Not every defense attorney will be happy to work on your case, which usually means they won’t be as willing to work hard. The ones that are happy to work on your case may not be very confident in the courtroom. While it’s not always possible to get the best of both worlds when it comes to legal defense, it’s important to find an attorney who has a good mix of both qualities. You’ll thank yourself later for putting in the extra work.

Find An Attorney That Will Listen to You

You have the final say in your own defense. A good attorney will give advice and propose certain courses of action, but they will never try to commandeer the case. Make sure the attorney you choose listens to you, is open to taking direction, and understands where you want the case to go.

With that in mind, compatibility is incredibly important. This is, in many aspects, a partnership. You want to be able to trust that your attorney wants the best for you. You and your attorney will be spending a lot of one-on-one time together, so comfort and trust are paramount. If you find an attorney who checks every box but this one, you may want to keep looking.

Go Local

Now that you know what to consider, it’s time to start the process of hiring an attorney in San Diego. There’s a lot on the line here, so take your time and put some extra effort into your search. Finding a legal representative in your local area means that your attorney probably has intimate knowledge of everyone working in your city or district: the prosecutors, the judges, and perhaps even some of the police force. They’ll know the ins and outs of the local law and may even have previous experience in your specific courthouse.

If you’re not sure where to start, call (619) 304-9190 for a FREE case evaluation and a staff available 24/7. Don’t wait to start looking for the right criminal defense attorney, Premier Criminal Defense is here for you.