Why hire a lawyer for a criminal case (even if I know I'm guilty)?
In some cases, most commonly when the offense charged is a misdemeanor
and you (the defendant in the court case) think you're guilty, you
may feel that there's no need for a lawyer. You may have heard that
a lawyer can't do anything to help you, or that you deserve whatever
punishment you're going to get. Unfortunately, you may be wrong
in these assumptions, and there's no way to tell unless you consult
with a person licensed to give advice about California law.
Everyone who is charged with a crime is urged to speak to a
lawyer as soon as possible, at least once. It's easy to do.
I offer free initial telephone or email consultations to potential
clients, with no obligation to retain me. After that initial consultation
I can determine what your situation is, if and how I can assist
you, and what costs will be involved. Often, if your case is not
the type of case in which I am available to be hired directly, I
can connect you to a lawyer who is best suited to help your particular
While each person's situation differs, here are some of the ways
that your lawyer can help you if you are under police investigation,
or if you've been arrested (or cited) and ordered to come to court:
Communication. Good lawyers can act as an interpreter, both
to express your concerns to the Court and the district attorney,
and to explain to you what the "Legalese" means in the
court documents and hearings. Most of the anxiety caused by being
a criminal case can be alleviated when you fully understand what's
happening, why it's happening, and what your choices are.
Investigate and assess the facts. Certain facts pertaining
to a criminal case are not allowed to be given to a defendant directly,
without a court order. This means your attorney will be able to
learn more about the details of a case than you will without help.
Sometimes a defendant him or herself will not actually be aware
of facts that may prove he or she is legally innocent. Only an attorney
can assess all the facts, and compare them to the applicable laws,
to determine whether or not you have a defense. Remember, often
actual guilt is different from the legal standard of proof beyond
a reasonable doubt based on competent evidence. The point is, you
can't know until and unless you consult with a lawyer. Not all cases
will benefit from investigation and each client's particular need
for examining the facts in detail are discussed in light of the
charges and factual circumstances of each case.
Help you protect your rights. Each of us has rights under
the U.S. and California Constitutions, rights that protect us from
overreaching grabs from the government's powerful arm. Sometimes
our rights, when reinforced through a victory in court, are disparagingly
referred to as "legal technicalities". The fact is that
forcing our government to follow the proscribed procedures to accuse
and/or incarcerate someone, and prohibiting our government from
cheating to lock you away, was a hard-fought victory long ago when
our country was founded which should not be abandoned or diminished
from public ridicule or neglect. If your rights may have been violated,
we consider it our obligation to discuss that with you, and to seek
for you the remedies that are available to you for the government's
misuse of its authority.
Provide you with options. Once your lawyer knows all the
facts, and the details of the laws that affect your case, your lawyer
can help you make reasonable choices. A major part of a lawyer's
job is to provide you with as many good choices as possible. Sometimes
the lawyer helps you in a direct but simple way, such as making
all the court appearances without you being in court too, so you
can keep your job and stay at work and your supervisor doesn't have
to find out. Sometimes your lawyer has to help you make informed
choices between two or more less-than-ideal alternatives. In ways
you can't imagine unless you've been through it, hiring a lawyer
can help make the whole criminal process easier on you, and for
How much does it cost to hire the Law Offices Cindy A. Diamond?
This explanation of my fee structure may help to make that initial
discussion easier and give my clients a sense of what to expect.
Fees vary widely and will be quoted to you at your initial consultation.
In general, I work on an hourly rate which will be determined when
we reach an agreement on the work which I will be hired to do. Often,
I work with trial counsel, or on certain portions of complex cases,
or on appeals. I can usually give you an estimate of the amount
of hours that your work will take, and based on the hourly rate
quoted, you can have a good sense of how much it will cost before
you agree to hire me.
Not all cases need investigators or experts, but some do. If investigators
or experts are needed, those fees will be assessed at the expert's
hourly rate, and the client is responsible for that cost. Experts
or investigators are only retained once the client is fully informed
of the need for that outside assistance, and with the client's full
Before work begins on a case, I will require that a downpayment
toward fees be deposited in a trust account. The money will be deducted
from that account as the work will is done on your case. Once a
month, you will receive a statement of the work done on your case,
the fees assessed, and the trust money deducted to pay for those
fees. Any experts or investigator costs expended will also be reflected
in your monthly statement. If during my work on a client's case
I determine that the fees deposited in the trust account clearly
will not cover the work remaining, I will inform that client and
ask for an additional deposit to be made.
At the conclusion of my work, any funds remaining in the trust
account will be refunded to you.