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Characteristics of the Best Criminal Defense Attorney


When you’re searching for the best criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, I’m think that you want to find somebody who is best for you.  In other words, somebody who you feel comfortable with feel like they have your best interests at heart.

That’s why I think it’s so important when you’re trying to choose an attorney to sit down and meet with them face to face.  Go in with a list of questions that are on your mind, listen to the attorney, see how they interact with you because that same attorney is going to be interacting with the prosecutor and judge on your case, the court staff and personnel, and a lot of this business.

Negotiation Skills

I’ve been doing it now for twenty-five years — really has to do with relationships, connections and how you handle yourself.  If people like you and they respect you, then obviously that’s going to translate into the best result for your client.

A lot of cases though are dictated by the strength of the defense in the case.  If you’ve got a good defense and you have a good defense attorney who can utilize the tools necessary to exploit the defense, then you’re going to be put in a strong position.  Also, your attorney has to be able to negotiate.

That’s definitely a huge characteristic in criminal defense because a lot of times the prosecutors have the evidence against a client and you need to figure out how you can do damage control and what you can do to either get a case reduced or dismissed, keep somebody out of county jail, keep somebody out of prison.  So, negotiation is crucial when it comes to choosing a criminal defense attorney.

Experience in Local Criminal Courthouse

You also want somebody who has experience in the courthouse where your case is pending.  Courthouses are ran by the judges, by the District Attorney’s office, by the City Attorney’s office and obviously, by the court staff that is in the particular courtroom where your case is pending. Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

So, hiring an attorney who has practiced there, who has connections there, in-roads there, experience there, really puts you in the best position to get the best result in your criminal case, especially in Los Angeles.  It’s a tough system.

It can sometimes be bureaucratic in nature because of the volume of cases that go through each of the courtroom’s doors and now Sacramento has made some decisions and closed almost half of the courts in Los Angeles county which has caused consolidation in the courts that remain open which has made things even more bureaucratic to a degree.

So, you have to know what the structure of the prosecutor’s office it is — who to talk to, how to talk to them, what to present.  These are all characteristics of an attorney who has practiced in Los Angeles for a long time, who has taken the path and been successful that you’re about to embark upon.  So, it’s crucial to get somebody with experience in the criminal courthouse where your case is pending.

Attorney Who Is Likable

I am also a firm believer in finding an attorney who is likable — who you feel comfortable with and who you feel like is going to be liked by other attorneys, prosecutors and judges because likability in negotiation and getting the best possible end result is crucial in Los Angeles criminal defense, and if your attorney is not likable and is perceived as a jerk that’s probably going to reflect on you and our case and that’s definitely something that you don’t want.

I will say though that it doesn’t matter how much your likable your attorney is if the case is going to go to trial because you really don’t need to negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge in that case, although you do have to interact with the jury, and if the jury doesn’t like the attorney, sometimes can take that out on the client.

So still, I think likability even seeps into a scenario  where you’re going to take the case to trial and try to beat the prosecutors because you really want to convince that jury of your position, your arguments and sometimes some of these criminal cases are very close and what tips it over the edge is your attorney’s skill and how they interact with a jury in trying to convince them of the issues that are the center of your particular case.

Experience Dealing With Your Type of Case

So, you really get a feel when you’re trying to find the best criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles that you want somebody who you really feel good about.  That’s why you definitely have to meet with them face to face, get a good feel for them and somebody who has a strong presence in the court where your case is pending.  Obviously, experience goes without saying.

You’ve got to have that and you also have to have skill in the area that is being dealt with.  In other words, if it’s a sex crime case, if it’s a murder case, your attorney has to have experience dealing with those type of cases because there’s special nuances in each particular case — special political concerns that you have to have.

Depending on whether it’s a gun case, domestic violence case.  Each type of crime in a criminal case brings with it its own issues that have to be dealt with in order to get the best result through the best criminal defense attorney.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.