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Need a criminal attorney in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale...

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Defense firms range from specialized solo practices to huge, multiple attorney firms.  Each has benefits but only if they provide a strong defense, are trustworthy, make personal attention a priority and charge a fair rate for their service.  Some firms have large advertising budgets to make sure you know who to call when you need help, some are only word of mouth.  The fact that a firm advertises isn't a good or bad thing in and of itself.  How the firm handles your case is.  You need a firm that assigns the right attorney for your case, makes sure that attorney is with you for all court appearances, and keeps constant communication with you. Part of your attorney’s job is to make sure you are informed and comfortable for each and every step of the process.

All law firms are all the same so I should just pick one?

No. No. No.  Like anything else, from carpenters to chefs, any personal service business naturally has substantial variation in what you receive.  You are not a number (or dollar sign).   Outside a few very select circumstances, if a firm promises you a particular result, run away.  If you feel the firm is selling you, threatening you, or bullying you, run faster.  The sad reality is that a criminal defense firm is still a business and needs to make more money than they spend. Overall, make sure you are comfortable with your attorney (after all it is your choice) and hold your attorney accountable for what was promised (again, promises to work night and day for you are good, guarantees that you will win your case are not).  The best criminal defense attorneys do not sugar coat your case or create any false hope to sell you on their service. The facts are the facts and they need to be honestly evaluated and addressed; otherwise your money could be better spent…

The more I pay the more I get, right?

No. No. No. No.  This really is a business question so lets look at it as if you (the potential client) were just a dollar sign.  A firm  could spend a million dollars a year on advertising, and that’s easy to do between television ads, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and bus stops.  To cover the advertising bill alone, they need to generate a million dollars of sales. If they charge 3k for each case, it would take 333 cases to make that money back! Per year!  That is a huge number of cases for a criminal firm to handle.  If they charge 5k per case, then they need 200 new cases a year to cover the expense.  Wow!   If they charge 10k per case, they need 100 cases to make that million back.  This example doesn't include the firm making any money to pay their staff; it is only to break even for advertising.   This being said, the more you pay sometimes is relative to the expenses the law firm has, not necessarily the quality of the work.   Because the attorney is given a set of facts and cannot promise results, any payment for a guaranteed dismissal or acquittal is a wasted payment.  So, where does this leave us?    Hiring an attorney based on results, talent, experience, and knowledge is always the right move. These necessary characteristics in an experienced criminal defense attorney don’t always come with a hefty price tag.  Shop around, find honesty, the best value for your dollar, and be comfortable with your choice. 

Do I always need an attorney?

No.  However, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney, even if you don’t necessarily need to hire one. For certain cases, with or without an attorney, you may still receive the same outcome.  This is where attorney honesty comes becomes first and foremost.  The best attorneys around give you a straight analysis of your case, tell you if there are any issues the attorney can litigate, and if not, tell you this as well and let you decide if you still want to hire them.  This is not saying issues can’t be found through investigation, but for some routine criminal matters sometimes the most talented attorney can’t get you a better deal than the prosecutor will offer.  However, you never know if you don't try, right? ... 

Bottom Line:  You have plenty of options.  Don’t hire anyone you are not comfortable with. Don’t be pushed.   The most reputable firms in town always leave the hiring choice to you, and do no hard selling.  Remember that prices firms charge don’t always reflect the service you receive due to outside expenses (such as advertising, support staff, BMW's...)  Finally, choose a defense attorney you trust.  You and your attorney are a team, whether you choose an attorney from the largest firm in town or one who runs a small solo practice, so long as you get value for your dollar, you trust them, and they are experienced in criminal law, you are in a good position to begin fighting your criminal charges.