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 case.

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 you.

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 consent.

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.


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