There are more than 170,000 lawyers in California. While the majority of these attorneys are reputable, honest people who do what they can to provide their clients with fair legal representation, there are a small number of them who are willing to cut corners, make false promises, cheat clients and otherwise act unethically. While we’ve talked about some of the things that can help you find a quality criminal lawyer in Oceanside, it can also help to know about some red flags to look out for, so you know when to walk (or preferably run) away.
While it’s one thing for a lawyer to tell you about his prior successes with similar cases or that he thinks you have a good chance of getting the charges dropped, never trust someone who guarantees results in a criminal case. Not only is it unethical to make such guarantees, there are also just too many variables in a court case, which can include unique circumstances in the case, the specific judge or DA handling the case and the jurors, if the case goes to trial, for anyone to ever be able to truly guarantee how things will work out. An ethical, honest attorney should be able to tell you the worst case penalties you could face, the best case results you could hope for and the realistic outcome they think is most likely.
Difficult to Contact
Your Oceanside criminal attorney will likely have other cases and a life outside of work, so you may not be able to get a hold of him 24/7, but he should always return your calls in a timely manner and find time to schedule appointments with you. If you can’t get a hold of a lawyer, then he is too busy or too unconcerned with your situation to take your case -either way, find someone else who does have time for you.
Lack of Transparency About Payment
Attorneys in Oceanside can charge a wide variety of rates based on their experience, caseload and more. While you should obviously evaluate whether or not a lawyer charges too much for your budget, there’s no set low or high bar that means someone is too cheap or too expensive. The Law Offices of Peter M. Liss offer reasonable rates and accept all major credit cards, which makes his services a good option for many people.
Regardless of your budget though, you should always be suspicious if an attorney’s office isn’t up front and transparent about how much they charge. While it might be difficult to give you an exact estimate of how much your case will cost from beginning to end since most lawyers charge an hourly rate, they should always be clear about their exact hourly rate and if they charge any additional fees or surcharges. Similarly, if someone has experience fighting charges like yours they should be able to give you a reasonable estimate based on how long they usually spend on similar cases.
Poor Ratings or a Little Respect
While one or two negative reviews on a review site could just mean someone was disgruntled because they were still convicted of a crime, if you notice a lawyer has consistently low reviews on Yelp, Google and AVVO, run the other way. Oceanside lawyer Peter Liss has a stellar rating on all major review sites.
Also, if you notice that other attorneys or judges do not respect your lawyer, this is a bad sign. In order to be taken seriously in court, a lawyer needs to be respected. That’s why good attorneys tend to have good relationships with others in the justice system.
Lack of Enthusiasm or Overenthusiasm
Your lawyer should be confident and interested in your case in order to make a strong defense on your behalf. If he seems unsure about the law or your situation or if he just doesn’t seem to care, he’s not the right guy for your case. On the other hand, if he seems overconfident and doesn’t seem like he’s taking it seriously or, again, if he guarantees results, this is also a red flag. Your attorney should be invested in and realistic about your situation.
Similarly, your attorney should be sympathetic to your circumstances. No one wants to get charged with a crime and this is a rough time for you. If your lawyer cannot be bothered to be compassionate to your situation, how could he possibly make a judge or jury feel sympathy for you?
It’s usually pretty difficult to tell that someone is unethical the first time you meet them, but if your lawyer ever indicates that he has a conflict of interest, if he ever asks you to lie under oath, if he tells you to destroy or hide evidence, if he implies that he can bribe or blackmail someone on your behalf or does anything else that seems morally or legally questionable, you should seek new legal representation immediately. This is particularly true because attorneys who have been charged with breaking the law are sometimes required to break lawyer/client confidentiality and you need to protect your rights by working with someone who is ethical.
Location, Location, Location
You should be careful when you see law firms advertise they are connected to San Diego County or Vista but their main office is in L.A. With these firms, generally, you will not be represented by the lawyer you speak with but instead the case will be contracted out to a less experienced lawyer. Peter Liss’ office is directly across the street from the Vista court and personally handles every case. He is a solo practitioner doesn’t employ associates.
These kinds of red flags are exactly the kinds of things that have made tv show characters end up on our list of the worst fictional attorneys. We can assure that you won’t find any kind of funny business like this at the Law Offices of Peter Liss, just a top Oceanside defense attorney dedicated to helping you get the best possible result in your case. To schedule a free initial consolation, please call (760) 643-4050.