When deciding on the right San Diego criminal lawyer, it is critical you feel confident with their ability to handle your case -you don’t want to have to seek out a new attorney later on. But for many people who have been charged with a crime, it can be hard to move past the uncertainty and fear about the potential sentencing and to focus on how to get the best legal representation. That’s why we chose to offer this list of questions you should always ask during your initial consultation with your potential lawyer.
- Tell me about your background. Be sure he covers his education, work experience, how long he has been practicing law. You may also want to ask if he is part of any professional organizations or if he has earned any awards for his services.
- What type of cases do you handle? You don’t want to hire an attorney that does divorce law, personal injury law and criminal law to defend you in court. The criminal justice system is simply too complex for someone to handle along with other case types.
- How many cases like mine have you taken? You want to know that the lawyer handles a decent amount of cases like yours -for example, if 90% of their cases are DUIs, you probably don’t want to join in with the 1% of fraud cases they handle. It’s worth noting though that some cases are more common than others, so if you’re fighting treason charges, don’t be surprised if the attorney has only defended one or two other clients against the same charge.
- What are the potential and realistic penalties for this crime? Often people think they are getting the maximum punishment the law allows, when that is rarely the case. There are also often additional consequences for certain crimes like DUI and Domestic Violence which can be explained by a San Diego criminal attorney as they can sometimes be confusing. The important point is the lawyer should understand the variables which go into determining the outcome of a case and range of penalties. He may also be able to tell you if those convicted of the crime are ever given the option of alternative sentencing.
- Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do? Sometimes your San Diego defense lawyer may advise you work with the victim to make restitution. Other times he may urge you to avoid talking to anyone about the case. In some cases, you may want to start attending anger management or drug treatment programs as soon as possible. It’s important to know what your attorney may ask of you as soon as possible so you won’t have any conflicts about these issues later on.
- Who else will be working on my case? If you are working with a large firm, the attorney you speak with at your consultation might not even be the one that handles your case. Always try to find out who, specifically, will be working on your case and see if you can meet and evaluate them as well. When it comes to solo practitioners like Peter Liss, the lawyer you meet with originally will be the same one handling your case every step of the way.
- How can I contact you if I have any questions? You don’t want to be left in the dark with your case. A good defense lawyer should give you contact information so you can talk to him whenever necessary.
- How much do you think this will cost and what payment methods do you accept? In many cases, fees may go up if the case drags on or if you and your attorney later agree you might want to hire expert witnesses or private investigators, but an honest San Diego defense attorney should be able to give you some sort of estimate at the start of your case. Additionally, most people will find paying for their attorney easier if he takes credit cards.
- How long will this case last? Again, this estimate may vary based on factors that arise later on, but based on the information he is given during the consultation, he should be able to give you some sort of estimate.
Keep in mind this is a generic list that could help anyone accused of a crime in San Diego. If you have any questions that are specific to your case, don’t forget to ask those at the consultation as well.
You can schedule a free initial consultation to ask these questions to San Diego defense attorney Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
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