Should I hire an attorney who has been a prosecutor before?

Asked over 2 years ago - Mountain View, CA

I have a case of dui+controlled substance and can't decide what type of attorney is best suited to handle my case to avoid jail time.

1)Should I hire an attorney who has mainly dui case experience so they can knock that off (to avoid the double whammy) or hire someone who has more criminal defense experience?

2) Is an attorney who has been a prosecutor before more likely to be less sympathetic to my case or more likely to have better intimate knowledge of the DA's intentions and have a better chance of defending me?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Elliot Rahmim Zarabi

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Some are good, others are bad. You need to interview a few different attorneys before making your final decision. Just because someone was a prosecutor doesn't mean they are a good defense attorney. It just means they were a prosecutor.

    You need to interview attorneys!

    Feel free to call me for a free consultation.

    Elliot Zarabi
    www.zarabilaw.com
    213-612-7720

  2. Chris J Feasel

    Contributor Level 17

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that I have more experience than someone who has never been in my position before, or never tried a case from that side. That said, whether you trust your attorney is up to you...everyone has different experiences. Ask intelligent questions about your attorney's experience and use your common sence.
    Now in your case of dui + controlled substance, you want someone who has dealt with this issue before. As a DA, I prosecuted a number of these cases. Feel free to contact me (925) 605-8747 for a free consultation to discuss your options.

  3. Kimberly Keheley Frye

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a great question and one that I am sure many people are thinking. I do not normally answer out of state questions, but your question is a universal one. Certainly the advice you have been given to interview attorneys and pick one you are comfortable is great. Picking an experienced attorney is very, very important. You don't say whether your DUI is alcohol, drugs or a combined influence of both. An experienced DUI attorney will know the difference and will be proficient at both. Handling a blood test DUI is significantly different than a breath test DUI from a base knowledge and strategy standpoint- the trial is similar. Advanced training in the specifics of your kind of case puts that attorney at an advantage for you.

    As for your question regarding former prosecutors, prosecutors bring a lot to the table in terms of experience, familiarity with the courthouse, judges and personnel. Most prosecutors have had many, many more trials than lawyers who have only been defense attorneys. Public defenders also get a great deal of trial experience from caseload issues for the same reason. Your concern about your lawyer being sympathetic is a common one, but you want an attorney who is passionate about their practice and their cases. Sympathy for your plight doesn't make them a better lawyer. Knowledge of the how the DA's run their cases with their respective Judges is invaluable and you want any lawyer you hire to have that. Lawyers who say they cannot do a great job on either side do not sound like very good lawyers. Every field of law has two sides.

    With the advice you have been given, you have some good tools for your consultations. Go see at least 3 well regarded local DUI/criminal defense attorneys in your area. See them all then make a decision.

    Good Luck.

  4. Harry Edward Hudson Jr

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Re 1) you are assuming that the attorney will cause the case to go away. Not so. Cases depend on the facts and what the applicable law is.
    Re 2) A rational consideration. My general experience with counsel who have been in a DA's office is that they work just as hard and deligently as attorneys who have never been in a DA or public defenders office.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client... more
  5. David Jon Pullman

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Personally, I would never hire an attorney who would ever have any interest in locking people up. Being a good attorney means going all out for your client and being completely dedicated to their freedom from a place of principal. If you are doing it for the money or just because it's a job, you are not going to have your heart in it and you are not going to put in 110% that is necessary to really help your clients. That said, I'm sure there are plenty of very capable attorneys who are former prosecutors and some of them may have had genuine changes of heart and do a fine job for you.

    The outcome of your case will largely depend on the facts of the case and not an attorney working some kind of magic. That said, some attorneys really fight for their clients and others just guide them along as they get worked by the system. You are welcome to call me if you are interested in talking about your case. I practice all over the Bay Area and I do lots of DUI and drug cases. I came into this profession from a deep dedication to freedom and I would never even for a second consider being a prosecutor. Good luck to you.

  6. Edward Jacob Sternisha

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to find someone you are comfortable with. Every attorney has a different set of experiences and qualifications. Having been a police officer, it doesn't bother me if some people do not want to hire me as a criminal defense attorney even though I feel it gives me a better view of both sides. Do your homework and find someone in your area you can work with. Good luck!

    The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational... more

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