Avoid These Red Flags When Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

law books

When you find yourself in a situation where you need a criminal defense attorney, you might be tempted to hire the first person you contact. After all, you know you need an attorney immediately to help you handle law enforcement and navigate through the complex legal system.

There are thousands of lawyers in the San Diego area, but not every attorney is reputable, reliable and ethical. Instead of settling for the first lawyer to call you back, or choosing an attorney with a fancy advertisement on a bus, do a little bit of homework to ensure you get the best representation for your case.

There are certain things you should look for when hiring a San Diego criminal defense lawyer, and there are certain things you should avoid. By educating yourself, you can ensure that you have a lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights and freedom and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. If you see any of these red flags, it is best to move along before you waste your time, money and freedom.

It's impossible to get the attorney on the phone. 

When you are facing criminal charges, you want an attorney who calls you back. Clear, constant communication is key in the client-attorney relationship. You should always feel secure that your attorney will return your calls, keep appointments and communicate any developments in your case. If you find you are getting the cold shoulder from your attorney, it could be a sign that your case is not a priority and that they don't have time to give your case the attention it needs.

You keep getting hit with hidden fees.

Retaining an experienced and reputable attorney isn't always cheap to be sure. With that being said, there are plenty of attorneys who work with clients of all budgets. With a little research, you can find an attorney who charges fair and reasonable fees.

If you notice that your attorney is failing to be transparent about fees and additional charges, it should raise suspicions. Additional fees should always be discussed with you to receive your approval beforehand. Before signing any paperwork with the attorney, be sure that you discuss payment and hourly rates.

The attorney promises more than they deliver.

If your attorney guarantees you the results that you want, you should immediately walk away. San Diego criminal cases are challenging to try and there are many factors that could impact the result of the case. A reputable and realistic attorney knows that there are no guarantees in the criminal justice system. Instead, you should look for an attorney who is experienced and skilled, but also honest and ethical. She should communicate the possible outcomes, both good and bad, so you are aware of what’s to come as you move through the legal system.

Other clients have had a negative experience.

Like any other service you may hire for, you should do your homework before hiring a lawyer.  Read reviews and ask for testimonials so you can learn about the experiences of other clients. Be realistic and understand that every case is different. However, there are certain things like communication style, reliability and ease in the courtroom that could apply to any client in any situation. 

If they have poor reviews online or fail to provide you with testimonials from other clients, it can be a sign that they do not provide good service. Similarly, notice signs from other professionals, such as their staff, other attorneys and judges. Are they known and respected? Your attorney is representing you in the courtroom and so it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who is respected by those they work with. 

You suspect unethical behavior.

When your freedom is on the line, you want an attorney who will act in your best interests. An unethical attorney who tampers with evidence, requests that you lie in the courtroom or perpetrates a crime under the guise of helping your case, should be a red flag. 

Who's to say that their behavior will not come back to you at some point? Could your attorney's unethical behavior cost you your case? If you notice any signs of your attorney doing something illegal, immediately end that relationship and seek legal assistance elsewhere.

Do you need a criminal defense attorney in San Diego? Contact the Law Office of Joni Eisenstein today to learn more about our services and to schedule your free consultation with our attorney.