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Receiving tons of mail from Attorneys stating that records show I was recently charged. Does this mean the DA filed charges?

Pasadena, CA |

I was informed that if the DA filed charges, then I would receive a notice. I have not received such notice. But receving numerous letters from Law Offices that I was charged. I was arrested for a misdemeanor VC 31.

I went through the OnLine Service "Criminal Defense Index" on the L.A. Superior Court website to search for my record - none were found. Is this site reliable?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Most likely these attorneys are going off of a list of recent arrests. There is an easy way to know if you have been charged: call the District Attorney's Office and ask.

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6 lawyers agree

Posted

You should disregard all that mail. It's like computer spam. We call it jail mail. If you are charged you should interview several respected attorneys and choose one that is most compatible with you.

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7 lawyers agree

Posted

I fully agree, Although the State Bar has not yet banned jail mail, they should. I t is nothing more than direct solicitation which the State Bar bans. If a personal injury can"t go into a hospital room and solicit a client or send his private investigator to do that, why should any attorney be allowed send out "jail mail" to people who have been arrested? Lawyers, especially criminal defense attorneys, have a bad enough reputation as it is.

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7 lawyers agree

Posted

You are getting "jail mail" which is junk advertising my attorneys who get lists of people who are arrested. That's where these generally come from, not from any knowledge there was a filing, which is usually a court notice, although they can simply issue a warrant for your arrest. Ignore the attorney letters.

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3 lawyers agree

Posted

It' very interesting to me that so many criminal defense attorneys on here are telling you to ignore the letters that you are receiving, especially since that was not the question you asked. Often times when peolpe are arrested it is for the first time and they do not personally know or have friends or family who know a good attorney. These letters are sent to you as a mere option for you to consider if you wish to retain an attorney to assist you and do not already know one. They are perfectly legal and the most common way for criminal defense attorneys to get new clients, which I'm sure most attorneys who responded to this are aware of. It is, unlike one attorneys post, strikingly different than a personal injury attorney visiting a potential client in a hospital room. It is your decision on whether or not to consider, contact or retain any of these attorneys. The letters were sent as a result of your name appearing on a list of recent arrestees. It does not necessarily mean that charges have been or will be filed against you because that decision is made by the prosecuting attorneys office, not the law enforcement officer that arrested and/or cited you. At a minimum you may want to call the DA office, as previouslt noted, to see if anything was filed because if they do not have current address indormation for you, then any notice mailed to you may not actually get to you. Hope this helps!

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3 comments

Brian Russell Michaels

Brian Russell Michaels

Posted

This is just not true. Jail mail is borderline unethical and many of the lawyers who engage in it are also engaging in disreputable purchasing of inmate lists. Thats not to say all attorneys who do jail mail are unethical as that is a sweeping generalization. It is absolutely NOT the most common way a criminal defense attorney receives clients. Solicitation by attorneys in this way is ethically frowned upon. I suspect that attorneys who advocate it, engage in it and therefore feel the need to defend it. There are plenty of resources like these on the world wide web that provide free information without an overt solicitation that can lead a client to a more well intentioned attorney.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

Jail mailers=bottom feeders. If you ever find a good attorney in jail mail you'll stand alone. As Mr. Michaels indicates that is not how most of us get our clients. I don't advertise at all, for example, and get all my clients through referrals, from my website, or sometimes from Avvo answers. I have never approached an inmate I don't know and tried to take him away from his PD or private counsel.

Meagan Elizabeth Melanson

Meagan Elizabeth Melanson

Posted

I personally don't do jail mail but know several well respected and established attorneys across California who do and who have for years. Although the jail mail process may not have been on the "up & up" in the past, it was litigated through the court system and certain rules were put in place by the court regarding this process. If it were unethical, the court would have made that ruling. As for such attorneys being "bottom feeders", you're are more than entitled to your opinion. As with any profession, there are good attorneys and bad ones. But making blanket characterizations such as that is just not true.

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