Who Should Represent Me In My California Criminal Case?

You just had the worst day of your life….. You got caught up in something you should not have been involved with and now you are stuck facing charges. You are not a bad person but you made a bad decision in a hard situation and now everything is so much worse. You have nothing but fear, suffering, sadness and endless questions and now you have to figure out what to do next. Near the top of your list is these questions; Should I hire an attorney? How can this attorney help me? Is it worth the time and the money I will have to put into it to hire a private attorney? Generally speaking there are three possible ways to fight a case that has been brought against you in San Diego Superior Court.

  1. Propria Persona (pro-per)

This is a legal term coming from the original Latin that means “For Oneself”. In essence it means that you are going to represent yourself in the case. In all situations involving a criminal court of law this is generally a terrible Idea even if you have a law degree. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”. Anyone who is acting as their own attorney needs to be very cautious. In order to do this you need extensive knowledge of criminal procedure as well as knowledge of all of your constitutional rights. Many people who represent themselves end up screwing up their case because they say something that helps to incriminate themselves before the actual trial. In addition it is highly recommended that you have the formal training to be successful. Under no circumstances should anyone ever try to represent themselves.

  1. Public Defender

Many people love to give the Public Defender’s office a bad name. They claim that they are “Public Pretenders” and that they don’t do anything to help you. While many people have problems with the Public Defender’s office, It is my opinion that those characterizations are incredibly unfair. I actually worked with the Public Defender’s office for a year while I was in law school and it drastically changed my opinion about them. In general almost everyone there wants to help people and they want to do their hardest to get the best results that are possible out of a crappy situation.

Their office is composed of two types of people. On the one hand you have new attorneys who are trying to learn the trade. The Public Defender’s office is an excellent for teaching new attorneys how to practice our art but it means that you may end up getting one who does not have as much experience as you would like your attorney to have. The other kind of person at the Public Defender’s office is the seasoned trial veteran. These are the guys that you would be lucky to have as your attorney. I was lucky enough to have two of them as my mentors when I was first learning to be an attorney almost a decade ago. If you do decide to go with the Public Defender’s office it is a crap shoot as to if you are going to get the new guy or the seasoned veteran…. And that choice is not up to you. No matter which kind of Public Defender you get there is always one thing that is for sure….. They most definitely will be under paid and grossly overworked. That means that your attorney may not have the time or the energy to give your case the attention that they would want to give it had the circumstances been different.

  1. Private Counsel

The last option is to hire Private Counsel. It should be noted up front that not all private counsel are created equally and it should also be noted that just like in any other aspect of life, you pay for what you get and there is a huge difference between price and cost. Generally speaking a private attorney like those at Seneca Law Group can handle your case with great charisma and skill and can dramatically change the outcome of the case and the direction your life is headed. An experienced attorney can take the bleakest of situations and find the light at the end of the tunnel and make sure that it isn’t a train headed straight for you. In addition an experienced private attorney will normally have much more time to devote to your case and will make you and your issues a priority. Generally speaking hiring a private counsel is the absolute best way to go in handling your case. All of that being said, I would encourage you to shop around. I would meet multiple attorneys and see what they can do for you and most importantly you should try to get a sense of who they are. You don’t want an attorney who treats you like they don’t have time for you. You also don’t want an attorney who does not take many cases to trial. In general you want one who does at least one to two trials a year at minimum.

In your search for an attorney, I highly recommend that you come see us at Seneca Law Group and talk to our knowledgeable attorneys about your case. It is always confidential, the first meeting is always free and we will work with you on payment plans. Call us today at (619) 630-8529.

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