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How to Pick a Good Criminal Defense Attorney in L.A.

I have been a criminal defense attorney in Orange County and Los Angeles for about 32 years and have come to know that there is an art to criminal defense:

  • You have to know the law and procedures, and

  • You must have credibility with the judges and prosecutors. You have to be reasonable and a person that people like and can get along with, but not a wimp or a pushover.

  • You have to be able to go to trial if you must. When you are about to get into a barroom brawl, if you can work yourself out it gracefully, great. If your back is up against the wall, you better be able to "Fight like hell".

  • You must have that sixth sense about when the time is right to "Grab the deal and run like hell" and when to wait and let the case develop. Part of any trial lawyer is a bet of a "Riverboat gambler". "Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em."

Any lawyer who brags about having a "90% success rate" is probably full of crap. The number of variables in a criminal case is too numerous and too subjective so that even a person with a Ph.D. in statistics would not attempt to quantify them or come up with a success rate. I have won cases that I should have lost. I have had cases dismissed when my client should have gone to prison or jail. I have also had my clients turn down great plea bargains offered and go to trial and wish they would have taken the plea offered. I have also been in a situation where my client had nothing to lose by trying the case and went to prison.

As a criminal defense lawyer with 32 years of experience, here is what I would look for if I were accused of a crime:

  • First, I would want a person who had spent a significant amount of time in the trenches and had a significant amount of trial experience.

  • Second, I would want someone who would spend the time to explain my options in a straightforward and honest manner.

  • Third, I would want someone who spent the time to analyze my case and prepare for trial.

  • Fourth, I would want someone with a good presence – friendly and self-assured but not arrogant and had character and a good reputation amongst the legal community.

  • Fifth, I would want some who was ready willing, and able to go to trial if necessary.

Every criminal case is serious. Potential employers, potential landlords and others are doing background checks. The list of crimes is increasing every day. Twenty years ago, domestic violence was serious but not overly emphasized in the grand scheme of the criminal justice system. Is it wrong? Of course, it is but thanks to O.J. Simpson and Marsha Clark, every police department, District Attorney's office and branch has a special unit devoted to “DV” and it can serious consequences on whether you get hired or if you are involved in a divorce.

The point is that every crime is serious and deserves to be dealt with accordingly. At the law offices of Charles M. Farano, every offense is treated as a serious matter each of the client’s options is analyzed and explained.