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How much would an attorney help in my cousin's criminal case?

San Jose, CA |

My cousin is facing 5 residential burglary charges & has a clean record prior to this conviction & his public defender told him he's looking at about 5 years. Is this true? Because we have heard several cases of other inmates with similar charges that only do 6 months- 1 year. If we were to hire an attorney what's the lowest sentence he could be looking at?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. There is no practical way for a private attorney to determine whether he or she can be more successful in an anticipated sentence than any other lawyer, including a Public Defender. So, you cannot reasonably plan to shop in that manner. Also, the California sentencing rules are complex and require a detailed knowledge of the case and not just the person's prior history in order to make predictions as to the defendant's possible sentencing range. Nevertheless, despite the fine ability of most PDs, they are often younger and less experienced than many private practice attorney s and are overworked (and under appreciated) in order often to be able to give the case and and the individual the attention he or she deserves. So, with that in mind, your cousin (or you on the outside) should interview private counsel to decide which one may be the best fit.

    The information provided herein does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is to suggerst some general principles and should not be relied upon for client decisions. Only upon the hiring of counsel can such advice be custom-tailored to the client's specific situation and needs.

  2. I agree with Mr. Taub. While the lack of record will certainly work in your cousin's favor, there are several other factors including strength of evidence, value of any property taken, the risk that the burglary could have ended violently (whether there were indications someone was home). Residential burglaries are very serious.

    The main difference between a private attorney and public defender is the amount of time that they'll be able to allot to your case. Private attorneys will be able to push your case closer to trial and might be able to get a better offer. They also might not get any better outcome.

  3. There is no way to know for sure if hiring a private attorney will result in a lower sentence. We know nothing about the facts and circumstances of your cousin's case, so we can't give you an intelligent answer. Moreover, you can't compare your cousin's case to anyone else's case because every case has it own unique set of facts and circumstances. Sure it's possible to get county jail on a single residential burglary, but having several residential burglaries makes it a lot tougher. The lowest sentence is always county jail for this type of offense, so I suppose talking to a private attorney will not hurt.

    The information and legal suggestions made herein do not in any way create an attorney-client relationship. The responses provided herein discuss general principles of law and should not be relied upon by the asker in making legal decisions. Only an attorney who has met with the asker and fully reviewed the facts and circumstances of the asker's individual case should be relied upon for legal advice. If you find my suggestions helpful, please mark the appropriate box as helpful.

  4. I agree with the other attorneys. The main advantage of a private attorney vs. a public defender is that public defenders have an enormous case load and often can't invest the requisite amount of time on each case. I advise you to try to find a private attorney that you trust and can afford. I offer a free consultation: 408.313.5607. Best of luck.

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