How to choose a criminal defense lawyer

When you are facing one of the most stressful, terrifying, and intimidating experiences of your life because you have been accused of, being investigated for, or are charged with a criminal offense, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing your criminal defense attorney.  The attorney who represents you must be knowledgeable in the law, confident in court, not afraid to stand up to the government, creative in seeking solutions and, most importantly, responsive to you, as the client.  Here are some tips on how to identify this type of an attorney, and why the attorneys at Jayne Law Group, P.C. fit the bill:

Background and Experience

In choosing a criminal defense lawyer, it is important to retain somebody who understands both sides of the criminal justice system – the defense and the prosecution.  It is also critical that the attorney have tried many jury trials, written and argued motions in court, and that the attorney knows his/her way around a state or federal courtroom.  In a federal case, an individual should never hire somebody who has not practiced in federal court.  In state cases, the same principle applies.

Julia Mezhinsky Jayne is a former prosecutor.  She has experience working on the opposite side and this gives us a strategic advantage in every case which we handle.  She has been practicing law for 14 years throughout the Bay Area.  She knows many of the judges, the prosecutors, and the procedures in state and federal court. She is also Chair of the California State Bar Criminal Law Section Executive Committee and an adjunct professor at U.C. Hastings College of the Law. Thus, her exposure and reputation in the Bay Area is extremely positive and well-known.

Reputation and Results

An attorney with a negative reputation among the bench and bar can be ruinous to a defendant in a criminal case.  It is tremendously important that the criminal defense lawyer be known in the legal community as a reasonable, responsible, and smart attorney.

Colleagues, judges, and prosecutors know that the attorneys and Jayne Law Group, P.C. are hard-working, responsible, intelligent attorneys.  We are respected in the legal community because we handle each case with care and attention and follow proper courtroom procedures.  Our case results demonstrate our attention to detail and our determination to get the best possible outcome for our clients.

Our former clients think highly of us as well.  We have assisted them with the most difficult experiences of their lives, and they maintain that they would turn to us again, if needed.

We have been selected as Superlawyers for Northern California for several years in a row, which also speaks to our reputation in the legal community.

Attentiveness and Responsiveness

As important as hiring a knowledgeable and skilled attorney is hiring an attorney who will respond to the clients’ needs.  Someone who will explain the complicated and often daunting legal process, who will return clients’ phone calls in a reasonable time frame, and who will work with the clients’ families, if needed, is imperative.

At Jayne Law Group, P.C., we will always return phone calls, meet with family members, visit clients in custody, and answer the client’s questions.  Our goal is to make each of our clients feel that they have the right to contact us, day or night, and that they are fully and completely informed of everything about their case.  We ensure that each client walks away feeling like they were taken care of in the best possible way.  One message we frequently hear from our clients is summarized in the following email from a client: “Thank you so much.  I know you’re incredibly busy, and I appreciate the time you’re taking to answer my questions!”  (M.N. 7/18/11, Oakland).

Confident and Skilled in the Courtroom

You need an attorney who knows how to try cases, how to present compelling legal arguments, how to write well.  It’s not enough that the attorney is aggressive and motivated.  Actual courtroom skills matter.  A jury must be able to connect with and like your attorney, particularly in a criminal case.

We have a tremendous amount of trial experience.  We have tried cases in state and federal courts throughout the Bay Area.  We have also filed successful motions, resulting in dismissals or reductions in charges for our clients.  Often, sentencing is a realistic part of a criminal case.  We are eloquent and creative in our sentencing memorandums, thereby resulting in acceptable sentences to our clients.

Creative Solutions and Ability to Negotiate

Trial is usually the last resort in any criminal case.  Therefore, your criminal defense lawyer should be experienced in negotiating cases as well as trying them.  Often, you can get the best result, including a dismissal of your case, by having your attorney take a personal and creative approach to your case.

We have the skills to do this, since we do it on a regular basis.  We always gather as much information about our clients as is necessary, we obtain letters of recommendation, and we pursue options that will allow our clients to be conviction-free, when possible.  Our clients are thrilled with these results.  We also are successful in obtaining the lowest possible sentence when that is the most preferable direction for a case to take.

Personal Comfort Level and Trust

Ultimately, how one feels with their attorney – whether they trust them and want to work with them – determines whether they hire a particular attorney.  All of the factors described above contribute to that level of comfort and trust.

We provide a free initial consultation, wherein you can determine if we are the right fit for you.  Contact us and find out for yourself.

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