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Factors to Consider When Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were recently arrested, have been accused of a crime or are facing criminal charges, you need to hire an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney. The right lawyer can guide you through the legal process and advise you on the best approach for your criminal defense. This article will help you determine if a lawyer is right for you.

Steps Toward Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

Before hiring a lawyer, you need to find some potential candidates. Ask the people you know if they could recommend a lawyer they’ve used in the past. Personal recommendations provide valuable insight into an attorney’s work style.

Or check out By simply filling out an online form or calling 1-877-913-7222, and answering a few questions, we can provide you the name of a San Diego criminal defense lawyer.

You can call the lawyer directly, or the attorney will contact you within two business days.

After you’ve compiled a short list of possible San Diego criminal lawyers, your next step is to schedule an initial consultation with each lawyer you're considering. An initial consultation is a meeting between you and the lawyer to discuss your case and decide if you want to hire the attorney.

It’s also the prime opportunity to learn about a lawyer’s experience, how he charges for legal services, and his general approach to managing criminal cases. The lawyer may also suggest a strategy for your criminal defense.

To ensure you get the most out of an initial consultation, question the lawyer about your case and the services he provides. Bring any important documents (such as the police report, bail papers or court papers that contain the charges against you) for the lawyer to review.

Ultimately, the meeting should help you choose a lawyer.

Most initial consultations are free, but confirm this when scheduling an appointment.

After your initial consultations, you need to sit back and assess the qualities of each lawyer before selecting one to defend you.

A Lawyer’s Experience

First, look at the criminal defense lawyer’s experience. The lawyer you choose should have previously represented clients in similar criminal court cases. The attorney knows how to defend people against felony charges in the San Diego County Superior Court and federal courts in California.

As a result, the lawyer can guide you through the legal process. The lawyer you choose understands criminal law in California and how it applies to your situation.

The lawyer will know which criminal defense strategy will work for your case.

The attorney you hire should also know key players in the San Diego court system, including judges and prosecutors. Confirm how involved he is in the criminal court arena. See if he’s a member of the Criminal Defense Bar Association (CDBA) or Criminal Defense Lawyer's Club (CDLC) of San Diego. An attorney’s involvement in these associations indicates how well he knows other players in the legal arena.

An Attorney’s Legal Fees

Next, look at how the criminal defense lawyer charges for his services. Criminal law attorneys either charge an hourly fee or a flat fee. A lawyer who charges an hourly rate gets paid for every hour worked on a case. A lawyer who charges a flat fee will quote you a single price to handle your case.

In addition to a lawyer’s rate, you may have to pay other expenses, including expert witness fees, the costs of a paralegal and investigator, photocopying services and a lawyer’s travel expenses. You may also be responsible for court fees if you’re found guilty.

So look at how a lawyer charges for his services and the additional fees you may be responsible for. Assess the total estimated cost of your case. Do the fees seem reasonable? Determine if you can afford to hire the lawyer.

Please note, you may be able to negotiate charges before hiring the lawyer.

Assessing the Proposed Legal Strategies

After looking at a lawyer’s experience and billing rates, review his proposed legal strategy for your criminal case. In addition, look at the potential outcomes to your case and your legal options. Ask yourself:

  • Did the lawyer propose a good strategy for your case?
  • Did he properly assess the potential outcomes to your case?
  • Did the lawyer’s legal advice seem realistic?

Call the attorney if you have any follow-up questions. The answers he provides, and the promptness with which he gets back to you, could help you decide which attorney to hire.

Your Comfort Level with a Lawyer

Lastly, factor in your comfort level with the lawyer. You may be working together for awhile, so you need to find an attorney you can trust.

Make sure you select an attorney who listens to your concerns. Find an attorney who will explain the criminal court process. Agree with the proposed legal strategy for your criminal defense. Most important, trust the information the lawyer provides you.

Selecting and Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

Review each San Diego criminal defense lawyer’s experience, billing rates, proposed strategy and legal options.

If you need additional input, call the references provided by the attorney. Or reconnect with the lawyer if you have follow-up questions.

Then select the San Diego criminal defense attorney who’s the best match for you and your case.