Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
A PERSONAL CHALLENGE…
I personally challenge you to come and meet with me for a no cost consultation and if after you meet with me you do not believe that my firm is the right one for you, I will help you find another firm that is the right fit. When someone comes to me and takes the time to hear what I have to say, I am so convinced that you will realize that I can help you, that I will continue to help you at no cost…even if you do not choose my firm!
OUR UNIQUE STORY…
The Hedding Law Firm has been a well known and respected local staple in the Los Angeles criminal defense community for many years. In the early 1990’s, its founding member, Ronald D. Hedding, litigated cases for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and worked for a powerful Los Angeles Superior Court Judge as his research attorney and go to person in deciding and assessing complicated legal issues and motions. The founder has also worked as a Commissioner for the State Bar of California’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission, which is tasked by the Governor of California with investigating, evaluating and rating candidates who are to be considered for appointment as judges.
In 1994, Mr. Hedding brought his well rounded legal skills to private practice and started defending clients exclusively in criminal defense at both the state and federal level and has never looked back! His multi-faceted experience has made him the complete package n the criminal defense arena. Author of “The Art of the Perfect Defense – Your Essential Guide to Criminal Defense in Los Angeles,” Mr. Hedding gives the reader a peek behind the mystery of L.A.’s criminal defense system from the point of view of an attorney that has worked all sides of the system for the past 25 years.
Growing up Mr. Hedding was a top level athelete and has sought to bring to the practice of criminal defense the same values of competitiveness, hard work and dedication he honed as an athlete, to helping people in trouble. Being a successful local business owner and community member means he must be a team player and advocate on behalf of his clients’ and this requires him to love winning and despise defeat. Mr. Hedding knows from years of competing on the sports field and in the courtroom, how to perform under pressure with a calm confidence which has served his clients well for many years. This combination of “street smarts” and battle tested preparation have made him a uniquely situated advocate on behalf of his clients in the criminal defense community.
An Important Note From the Lead Attorney…
Dear Potential Client,
Welcome to my website. My name is Ron Hedding. I am a criminal defense attorney that has been practicing in all of the courts in Los Angeles County for over 25 years. I assume if you are on this site, you likely have a problem in one of Los Angeles’ many criminal courts. I understand that this is a very difficult time for you and I am hoping that I can help. I have tried to not only tell you why I am a logical choice for you, but to provide a practical common sense approach to your situation. After you have heard what I have to say on my video and reviewed my credentials I encourage you to take advantage of my offer to meet with you for a free face to face consultation. I will be straight forward with you and give you my opinion related to your situation without trying to scare you, but to educate you on how things work in the criminal arena and hopefully make you feel better about your particular situation.
How do you choose your attorney? This is probably one of the first questions on your mind. In a nut shell, I would say that you want to find someone that possesses certain crucial skills. First, you have to meet with them and make sure that they are a solid person. In other words, a person that you would want representing your rights and future to a judge, prosecutor and possibly a jury. The only way to assess this is to go sit down face to face with the prospective attorney with a list of questions and see if you feel comfortable with them and their answers. Next, I would say that you want someone local, well respected and an attorney that gets the best results in the court your case is pending. In other words, you want someone that has been down the road you are about to travel and had success. For more on this topic, please review the chapter I wrote in my book “The Art of The Perfect Defense” on how to choose the best attorney for you.
Latest News on Los Angeles Courts that Could Effect Your Case…
In Los Angeles the state legislature has forced the Los Angeles courts to consolidate. Even though the revenue generated for the Los Angeles Superior court system accounts for a huge chunk of the state’s budget, many courts in Los Angeles are closing down. This has already led to significant reductions in sentences in many of the major courthouses. The bottom line is that when an L.A. court becomes over run with cases they have no choice but to offer better deals to settle a matter and the prosecutors will not file cases that they do not think they can prove…even if they think the person is guilty.
This is not common information that is available to the public. The legislature and the powers that make these type of decisions will never tell you the true impact of a particular decision unless it leads to a benefit. However, us insiders can see many of the major courthouses policies on certain crimes begin to shift in a direction that the general public would not appreciate if they were fully informed. Yet, if you have a criminal case in any of the major courthouses in Los Angeles hiring a local attorney that knows the ins and outs of that particular court has become essential if you want to end up with the best result.
(1) What Does It Really Take to Win a Criminal Case?
The first thing that you need to do in order to answer this question is to define exactly what a win would mean. In other words, is it the type of situation where a win means going to trial and getting a not guilty verdict. And, then filing a motion to seal and destroy a person’s arrest record and convincing the judge to order the police to take the arrest record out of the system as though it never existed. Or, is it a situation where a conviction is already a foregone conclusion and a win means avoiding certain penalties or punishment that are typically doled out in this type of case. Once the exact goal is flushed out, then your attorney can begin the process of making that goal a reality.
Obtaining a not guilty verdict and having one’s criminal record sealed in a Los Angeles criminal case can sometimes be a tall order. It is imperative that when you choose your attorney, that you and the attorney have a meeting of the minds as far as a realistic outcome that you are aiming for. I see all too often cases that come to me after the client and attorney set out after an impossible goal and ran dead smack into a wall. A wall in the name of the prosecutor or judge who was insulted by the unreasonable expectations of an inexperienced attorney that was not equipped to come close to the goal the client wanted. The only way to avoid this problem is to find an attorney that has handled cases like your’s in front of the audience your case is pending. This can sometimes be a tall order. The Internet has allowed inexperienced lawyers in a vast city like Los Angeles to put there embellished credentials up with the real deal attorneys. Sometimes it is difficult to tell who is on the up and up and who is not!
However, today’s consumer is becoming more and more sophisticated regarding figuring out who the real deal is and is not. It is for this reason that I have put much effort into attempting to educate my potential client before they ever meet with me. This is because I know that an educated client will ask the right questions and draw the right conclusions about what type of an attorney they need in order to be successful and end up with a win in their particular case.
(2) Is It OK to Just Hire a Cheap, Inexperienced Attorney?
The next issue that I usually have to address is does the potential client have the finances to afford solid legal representation. Again, this is not an easy issue. For me it boils down to asking yourself, “Would you want an inexperienced cheap surgeon probing around your body when your life was on the line?” What would you pay if your health / life was in danger? Similar questions can be asked in a criminal case in Los Angeles County. What would you pay if your reputation, career, future and even freedom were in jeopardy? Come sit down with me and we will have a conversation about what I can do to help you and I will be fair, open and honest with you in every aspect of your case.
In short, it is not ok to hire a cheap inexperienced attorney if you have a criminal case in Los Angeles County. There are many fly by night attorneys on the Internet who have figured out how to get on the first search results page. The problem is that does not make them a solid criminal attorney. In fact, the attorney typically has nothing to do with their site being on the first page. Even though almost all of the content on this site has been painstakingly written on here by me (Ron Hedding) other attorneys in the criminal defense arena do not have the same ability to add content or are too lazy to do so. Defending cases in Los Angeles must be done by an attorney that has the background and experience to defend you the right way. Many attorney who have just graduating from law school are jumping into criminal cases and simply do not know what they are doing. This can lead to devastating consequences for their clients. Do your research, meet with the attorney face to face and use your common sense before just going with an attorney that is charging the least amount of money.
(3) Do Attorneys Claiming to be Former Prosecutors’ Give you any Advantage In a Criminal Case?
I am seeing former prosecutors advertising the fact that they worked for a particular prosecuting agency and therefore they somehow have an advantage over other criminal defense attorneys. Early in my career (1992) I worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in East Los Angeles. I was able to get a birds eye view of exactly what goes on in a major Los Angeles prosecuting agency. The truth is, that the prosecutors have unlimited money, the police on their side (who have guns and badges), and the backing of judges that are typically very conservative. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not very impressive when they win a case or get a plea from a criminal defendant. On the other hand, defense attorneys that can successfully represent their clients when the deck is typically stacked against them are very impressive.
Having litigated criminal case in Los Angeles County courts on the defense side for more that 20 plus years, I can say with confidence, I will take a seasoned criminal defense attorney over a former prosecutor everyday of the week and twice on Sundays! There is something about fighting a battle when the chips are down. It takes a rare breed of attorney to be a criminal attorney in a metropolis as vast and unforgiving as L.A. I am not impressed in the slightest by an attorney that has spent years putting people behind bars for a living. Then they switch to the defense side and claim they now have the ability to somehow help you because they used to prosecute people who are now in your position. What are they saying, “my former fellow prosecutors will give me a better deal than another attorney?” Does that sound right to you? In fact, many of the former prosecutors where fired from their jobs, couldn’t make it as prosecutors are are simply just looking to make more money than they could working for the government. If you have a criminal case in Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and hire a seasoned criminal attorney that has been around the block and forged in the trenches of Los Angeles’ court rooms on the defense side of the table!
(4) If I Have a DUI Case in Los Angeles, Do I Need a DUI Attorney, or is a Criminal Attorney Better?
Over the course of the past 20 years of defending criminal cases I have had to address this exact question time and time again. The answer to the question is simple…you need an attorney that has consistently handled DUI cases in the exact court your case is pending, is a people person that can get your story across to the prosecutor in the most effective manner possible and if a deal can not or should not be worked out, can litigate the case and win. Just because someone claims to only handle DUI cases does not mean that they can do so in a successful manner. The truth is that experienced criminal attorneys have litigated more cases than DUI attorneys because most DUI cases end up pleading out. Any attorney that says different is either not being straight with you or has very little experience.
So when you go in search of a DUI attorney that can take control of your pending criminal case and protect your driving record, criminal record, reputation and freedom, use your common sense and look for someone that has litigated and negotiated cases and is local to the court your case will be heard. Many of the issues related to defending a dui case in Los Angeles, that are on the websites of attorneys related to driving under the influence cases typically do not apply in most cases. To say that mouth alcohol issues apply in a case where blood was drawn is ridiculous. To claim that acid reflux is applicable in a case where a particular person got in an accident and was clearly intoxicated is embarrassing and will get you no where. Most of this stuff is common sense and in the end, if the case is not negotiated by way of a plea deal, then a jury made up of 12 members of the community is going to be tasked with deciding whether you were driving a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you could not safely operate you vehicle because you where impaired. They are not going to be fooled by some lawyer tricks. Don’t forget that those same jurors have to drive on the road themselves and their friends and family members are on the road as well. They are not going to find someone not guilty who was clearly intoxicated. You need a straight shooting attorney that knows the Los Angeles DUI system and is not going to waste your time, energy and money.
(5) Who Is Really Answering the Phone and Making Predictions When You Call a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When I meet with clients to discuss their case, they always bring up predictions and claims that where represented to them by other law firms and try and challenge me about what they were told. As we break down and discuss what was said and who said it, come to find out that some non-attorney sales person has made a prediction about their case without having any of the facts. In other words they have told them some scripted information that they tell everyone when they call. Once we go through it step by step, they realize how reckless and uninformed the person was that told them what a particular result would be if the potential client just pays them money. These are sales people that have no place in criminal defense.
Worse yet is the attorney that brings up a bunch of flashy defenses that don’t apply to a person’s case. Who cares about a defense if it does not apply to you and your situation? The attorneys that do this do not have the ability to listen to other people and for whatever reason refuse to address you and your problem in a genuine straight forward manner. If you find that someone is bringing up information that does not apply to you or is not willing to address your problem (even if they have to give you bad news about your situation) then you should move on to the next attorney. In my opinion, the biggest most important thing you need is a straight forward no nonsense approach to your situation. An attorney dealing with criminal cases in the courthouses of L.A. better give it to you in a truthful manner if they expect you to understand what is happening and be satisfied with the result.
(6) Are Los Angeles Courts More or Less Harsh that Surrounding Counties?
In my opinion, Los Angeles courthouses are more moderate and fair than just about all of the counties that surround it. There are many different theories as to why Los Angeles is not as tough as other jurisdictions. First, for the past 5 years or so the jails in Los Angeles have been so over crowded they simply can not hold all the inmates that are being sent their way. In response to this problem the Sheriff’s Department has limited the percentage of time that persons sentenced to jail have actually had to do for the full sentence down to as little as ten percent. Recently this number is going up with Proposition 47 and other measures taken by the Governor of California. Another huge problem has been a horrible budget deficit in the State of California that has hit L.A. particularly hard. This has caused the consolidation of courthouses, which in turn has caused many of the main courthouses in Los Angeles to be over crowded and unable to effectively deal with their caseload. The prosecutors have realized that they can not realistically handle so many cases and they have therefore started offering more favorable deals that have caused defendants to plead out and thus cleared the courts’ calendars.
With so many factor impacting the prosecutor’s office, it is more important than ever to hire an attorney that has been around the block and knows how to work the system to their client’s advantage. Like anything in life, those who know the powers that be and how to most effectively deal with them will end up with the best results and get the job done for their client. This is particularly true in criminal defense. You must bare in mind that a criminal defense attorney’s job is in large part knowing how to deal with the different people and political pressures in the criminal defense system.
(7) How Do the Prosecutors Figure Out What Type of an Offer To Make to Settle a Criminal Case?
There are many factors that drive prosecutors when it comes to formulating their offers to settle criminal cases in L.A. They range from the type of offense, the defendant’s criminal record, whether it is a crime of violence and many other factors that depend on the particular set of circumstances they find themselves confronted with. However, regardless of which factors are involved with a particular case, there is no question that the single most important consideration is how the defendant’s attorney presents their client and the mitigating circumstances that surround the case.
When it comes to the attorney’s role in the negotiation process, this is where the truly savvy battle tested advocate can rise to the top and make in roads into saving their client’s career, future and freedom. There is no substitute for a criminal attorney that knows the prosecutors’ tendencies and exactly how to deal with them on a given case. The judge can also be utilized to get the job done for your client. Some judges will undercut the prosecutors, while other will not. A seasoned advocate must also know when to go up the latter and request a meeting with the prosecutor’s supervisor or even the head prosecutor of a particular courthouse. This is where things start to get tricky, because one false move in this posturing game can lead to severe consequences for a client.
The reality is that the prosecutors will look at the person’s background and circumstances of a particular case. The key is having an attorney that is respected enough to be heard by the prosecutors and judge. In such a large court system as Los Angeles, the courtroom is no room for the faint at heart. The prosecutors and judges see one of their main jobs as moving cases along as fast as they possibly can to make room for the next one. As a defense attorney, you can not allow your client to be swept up in this buerocratic avalanche. I find myself everyday putting myself in the position of my client and saying to the prosecutor, “no that is not fair, that is not justice and we will fight you tooth and nail before we will accept that!” If a particular criminal defense attorney does not have the gutsto look a prosecutor or judge in the eyes and tell them, “no that is not going to happen,” then they have no business being in the position of guarding another person’s most valuable human rights. Long story short, a criminal defense attorney in L.A. had better start to angle his client’s case in the most favorable light possible from the day he or she is signed on as counsel. The most effective way to do that is to already have local connections in place, know the law better then the judge and prosecutor and have a game plan in place going into the courtroom.
(8) How Long Does It Really Take to Finalize a Criminal Case in Los Angeles County?
The days of criminal cases taking years to complete is over. Very rarely does a case last longer than 6 months. If they did a survey of insiders in Los Angeles regarding how long the typical criminal case takes, they would likely find that on average they are completed within two to three months. Because of overcrowding and budget cuts the Los Angeles Superior Court Judiciary has strict guidelines on the movement of a criminal case. In my experience, judges are all over both prosecutors and defense attorneys about the pace of criminal case. Once the case comes into the Preliminary Hearing court the judge starts to ask real specific questions. “Is there any reason the case can not move forward?” “Why are you asking for the case to be continued counselor?” These questions are asked of both attorneys on each side and the judge is relentless and targeted on getting the case resolved one way or another in the quickest possible time frame.
In fact, most courts in Los Angeles have a 90-day rule. If the case is not over in 90 days, the particular judge that permits that case to linger will have to answer to the presiding judge and risk losing his or her value assignment. This means that they will not permit a defense attorney to continue a case unless they have good cause to do so. And finding good cause is strickly enforced by all judges in Los Angeles. So, the bottom line is that cases in Los Angeles are resolved relatively quickly. Therefore, your attorney better know what they are doing and be prepared to litigate the case in you best interests in the most efficient way possible.
(9) What Can You Do to Best Assist Your Attorney in Achieving the Most Favorable Result?
I think the first thing you can do is tell your attorney the truth about exactly what happened leading up to you being arrest and or investigated. Most people are so shaken up by the fact that they have been arrested and charged with a crime that they are in defense mode. In other words, everything they say is with an eye towards defending themselves and their interests at all costs. The problem with this mentality is that it does not allow your attorney to get a real feel for what is really going on. This is very dangerous because fast forwarding ahead in the case puts your lawyer in a position that they do not have all of the vital information necessary to defend you and your interests. What can end up happening is that they can’t properly defend you and you end up with a result that is less than satisfactory. Whereas if you had given them all of the facts they could have got you a better result or even won your case.
Once your attorney has all of the information that applies to your case, they can start to make moves to protect your interests. If they are given even the bad information they can take precautionary measures and not permit the information to hurt you. However, by finding out about the information in the middle of the case, they are not able to get around it and then you absorb the full weight of any negative impact. Instead of being defensive, the person in trouble should be telling their story as though they were looking at it from the police and prosecutor’s point of view. This way their attorney knows exactly what they are up against and can truly begin to prepare a defense. This does not mean that the person should not tell their attorney the defense side of things. But instead it means that the attorney first needs to know what the prosecutor’s angles are going to be and then they can begin to establish a defense with the assistance of their client. When push comes to shove you have to trust your attorney with your legal life. If you chose a solid attorney, they will use the information you give them to your advantage.
SOME MISTAKES DEFENDANTS MAKE THAT CAN COST THEM DEARLY
In my 25 years in and out of the trenches of the Los Angeles Superior Court legal system I have seen good things and bad things. Each of the forty plus courthouses have there own way of doing things, but there are some truisms that are relevant to all of the courts. It is my sincerely hope that this segment of my website can give you some incite into what not to do when it comes to a criminal case. First, never represent yourself. There are so many intricacies involved in a criminal defense case, that you could not possibly cover them all! Judges and prosecutors hate it when a criminal defendant decides to represent themselves and seem compelled to teach that particular defendant a lesson. If you can not afford to hire your own champion, then at least go with the Public Defender.
If you take the time and pay the money to hire your own attorney, then you should listen to them when they advise you on what you should do in your criminal case. There is nothing wrong with asking friends, family members or even other attorneys for their opinion, but it is your own attorney that sits in the best position to advise you. Whenever someone tells me someone else has advised them something different than me, I always tell them to come in with that person or persons so we can discuss the case with all of the facts on the table. Unfortunately, the person in trouble will only give the facts to the adviser that they want them to know. This of course does no one any good. If the person whose opinion they seek is not armed with all of the facts, then how can they possibly give an opinion that is worth anything.
Make sure that you hire a law firm that has attorneys who practice in the courthouse your case is pending. There is no reason for an attorney to get familiar with a courthouse on your dime. In fact, this will make it more likely that you will not achieve the best result in your criminal case. When you meet with a potential attorney, ask them about their experience in a particular courthouse and then listen to them carefully. If they know the courthouse, you will be able to tell. Having local knowledge and experience is a must in criminal defense. Also, never hire an attorney that does not regularly practice criminal defense. I can not tell you how many times I have taken over for an attorney that knows nothing about criminal defense and has completely messed up a criminal case. Sometimes the other attorney has done so much damage that it can not be undone and the client will ultimately suffer the consequences!
Most of the decisions related to criminal defense are common sense. But the key is to have an attorney by your side that has successfully handled the type of case you are charged with, in the jurisdiction you will be appearing and who has the type of temperament and experience that will get you the result you deserve. It always shocks me when someone tells me that they hired there criminal defense attorney over the phone and never met them…what?! You must look your would-be attorney in the eyes and make your own judgment call. The decision you make will affect you the rest of you life.
(10) How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Solid Criminal Defense Attorney and Others?
As more and more people are going to the Internet to find an attorney, the question of which attorney is the real deal and which is not has got to be on their mind. Once you realize that all attorneys are not created equal and they can make any claims they want and it is not easy for you to tell who is real and who is not, it should become a serious concern. I am here to tell you that there are ways to tell who you are dealing with, if you take the time to investigate and you use your common sense.
First, as you go through attorney websites - you will notice that many of them start citing law right off the bat. This is a tell tale sign that the attorney has nothing to do with his or her website and some web company has just filled in some information to make it look like the site has credibility. The truth is, just citing law in today’s day and age is silly. You can go on Google and type in any Penal Code in California and immediately get the law. On the other hand, if some law is cited on a website and actually explained by an attorney with examples and real life information that’s a different story. In my opinion, if law is just splashed on a site with no meaning behind it, I assume that attorney is just as sloppy and uncaring about his or her cases as they are with their website.
Second, when you go to the law firm to meet with the attorney - with all of the credentials on the Internet, do you meet with that attorney or someone else? If you end up meeting with someone else, run for the hills. You have just ventured into a bait and switch mill law firm. You came to the firm so you could meet with the attorney that you saw on the Internet, not a lesser experienced substitute attorney. If they do not actually practice law anymore, what good does that do you?
Upshot? - The best way to assess - whether you are dealing with a top level Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is to get a list of questions together and go meet with that attorney face to face to figure out if they are the right person for you. Is this the lawyer you want representing you in court in front of the judge and prosecutor? You should be figuring out if the attorney appears like they know what they are talking about and whether they speak to you in a common sense manner and whether you believe they would make a good impression in front of a prosecutor, judge, court staff and even a jury. Anyone that is successful in court and real life has got to be a people person that is prepared, experienced and has a personality that people of all walks of life can relate to.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REASONS TO HIRE A PRIVATE ATTORNEY VERSUS GOING WITH THE PUBLIC DEFENDER?
Clients ask me all the time what is the difference between being represented by a public defender and a private attorney if I have a criminal case pending in one of the courthouses in Los Angeles County? In my opinion, there are a number of things you should take into consideration. For example, as I write this, an article was just published that indicates that the District Attorney's Office in Los Angeles County has three times as much funding as the Public Defender's Office. This statistic gives you an idea of the advantage that the prosecutors have over the Public Defenders Office. Simply put, the way to level the playing field is to hire a private attorney that is being paid to look out for your best interests and whose reputation is on the line when they defend you and your interests. The prosecutors have unlimited funds, law enforcement with guns and badges and judges who are former prosecutors deciding your fate. You must have your own hired gun read to put their skill and experience to work to make sure you are treated fairly.
One the biggest advantages that I believe private attorneys have is that they are usually much more prepared to represent you and can get all of the inside information to make sure that every aspect of your case is looked at and argued to the fullest. A public defender is not getting paid extra money to go that extra mile for you, but your private attorney is! Also, in my experience, a savvy criminal defense attorney will prepare and check every single angle before presenting your case to a jury or the judge and prosecutor. In criminal defense, preparation is just as important as experience. Some of my biggest wins over the past twenty years have come because I was prepared to the tenth power over the prosecutor and just simply overwhelmed them and their case. Combine preparation with skill and you are now in a position to win! With so much at stake in a criminal case, you owe it to yourself to make certain that you are well represented. You will typically only get one chance to obtain a result that you can live with. Once things go wrong for you in a criminal case, there is very little that can be done after the fact. Act now and make sure that you meet face to face with an attorney of your choosing and you will then be in a position to not second guess your decision and know that you did everything you could do to get the best result.
IF YOU HAVE LIMITED FUNDS, SHOULD YOUR MONEY BE USED TO BAIL OUT OR HIRE A PRIVATE ATTORNEY?
This issue comes up all the time and it is usually a family member trying to decide what to do. The person in custody wants out right away and does not care what the cost is or that the money that is being used could go towards defending the root of the problem. The bottom line is that if you use all of your money to bail out, you have done nothing towards defending your case and you sit in a position where you could be convicted and end up back in jail.
In a criminal case the key thing that any defendant must have is a seasoned local criminal defense attorney by their side. I have seen many people or family members use all of their money to bail out and have nothing left for a solid attorney. I call this putting a bandage over a bullet wound. Getting the person out of custody will not solve anything, other than the person will be happy that they are no longer in custody. When deciding whether to bail a person out, you must evaluate what exactly they are accused of doing, do they have a prior record and what is the likelihood that they may end up back in custody again anyway. Before giving up the money to the bail bondsman, you should at least go and sit down with an attorney and evaluate whether the attorney can get your loved one out on their own recognizance (no money out of pocket), get the bail lowered (less money out of your pocket) or whether it even makes sense at this point to bail the person out.
WHAT SHOULD BE YOUR STEP BY STEP PROCESS IF YOU HAVE A CRIMINAL CASE IN LOS ANGELES?
This must be the question on most people's minds who have a criminal case against them. After the initial shock wears off and the fear that accompanies any situation involving the police and a criminal charge, people will next start to think what they can do to defend themselves. The best first step is to put together a list of questions that you will have for any potential attorney. Clarity on what will happen to you is something that will help you begin to cope with your current circumstances. The only way to get clarity is to ask the right questions and find an attorney that has the answers. Real specific answers based on the facts of your case and the attorney's experience.
Once you have your questions together, then you must find an attorney that is locally connected to the courthouse where your case is pending. I typically do not deal with cases in other counties other than Los Angeles unless it is a location I am familiar with (if you are not local, then you are not in the best position to help the client). I feel like I have inside information when it comes to defending criminal cases in L.A. because I have devoted my career to defending cases in this area for many years. When I go to a court in Los Angeles, I have dealt with the prosecutors and judges for many years and know their tendencies and how I can maneuver the case to my client's advantage.
WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR WHEN DECIDING TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CRIMINAL CASE IN LOS ANGELES?
Having practiced criminal defense for many years I have noticed that the best attorneys in the criminal defense arena share some crucial attributes that make them successful. Probably the number one trait of the best defense attorneys is that the are charismatic and likable. People that are a pleasure to interact with tend to be able to accomplish more in their life. There is no different in criminal defense. Everyday I have to interact with judges, prosecutors and court staff. If I am not liked and respected then I would not be able to get anywhere. Whenever I see an attorney not being professional, I see his or her client suffering for it. If the prosecutors and judges do not respect an attorney, then they will not seriously consider what they have to say. As a criminal defense attorney, if you can not get your point across, then you and your client are dead in the water.
It is also important that your attorney have years of experience under their belt in the courthouse where your case is pending. It takes a long time and hours of hard work to represent a criminal client to the fullest. It is not something that you can just jump into and be successful at right away. There are too many variables that can affect a client's case if an attorney is not seasoned. Attorneys that have put in the time and paid their dues will always have the upper hand over those that have not. In criminal defense, one mistake can cost a client their freedom, reputation and rights. You must have an attorney that has handled cases like your's and been successful! If the attorney has traveled the road you are about to take, then they should be able to talk to you about it and give you a road map to success. This is not the time for trial and error. It is time to design a plan and execute it to a successful end!
In addition to being likable, an attorney must have the dual ability to litigate a case or an issue at the drop of a hat. When I see I am not getting what I want for my client I many times have to switch gears and go on the offensive. This must be done in a tactful manner, so as to still keep the door open for further negotiates, if necessary. This is something that can not be taught, it is must be learned through battle tested experience. If your attorney can not litigate a case when necessary, then you do not have the complete package and hence will not achieve the best result. Unfortunately there are many attorneys that can only negotiate cases effectively. This is not good enough. Prosecutors and judges must know that an attorney has teeth and will use them if their client is not being treated fairly.