What is the definition of a CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY???

Asked about 1 year ago - Perris, CA

Please let me know, let the world know what a criminal defense attorney is obligated to do once hired. Please address any extra fees that you feel that you as a criminal defense attorney require once hired. Please be open, honest and allow us the people to have a better understanding of what A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY means??? What does my retainer pay for? Do I have to pay more money down the line for an investigator? You are the ones that keep answering my question, you are the ones that have an answer for everything on this website, now you Attorney's please do us the people a favor and answer this simple little question..What is the definition of a CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY???

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Greg Thomas Hill

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . What a criminal defense attorney is obligated to do once hired is a matter of agreement between you and your attorney. Sometimes, the fees to be paid to an investigator are not included in the fee of the retainer; other times they are. In my cases, where often the investigator does not do too much at all, they are often included. Other times, when the investigator does many hours of work and the charges may be unknown at the outset, the fees are not included.

    Otherwise, perhaps the best definition of a criminal defense attorney is, broadly speaking, one who does his best and spends his (or her) time to defend a suspect of criminal liability. How the attorney does this varies on a case by case basis and will be related to the facts of the case, the attorney's experience level and the prosecution's zeal or goals. Sometimes, for example in multiple defendant cases, an attorney may be most effective by doing very little and letting the other defendants protest their innocence most loudly and thereby create an inference that they are mostly to blame. Other times, if the client clearly has the focus of the police and the DA, the attorney may need to be extremely aggressive, with the use of investigators, filing motions and even hiring other attorneys.

    The goal of a criminal defense attorney should always be to do the best job possible so that the client can feel better off than fighting the case alone. Depending on the client, this may mean an enormous amount of time and effort is required to tell the client what is happening and educate him or her on the criminal adjudication process; other times not much "hand holding" is necessary. Each client is different.

  2. Ryan Shea Conrad

    Contributor Level 4

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Question 1. What does my retainer pay for?

    Your retainer is a paid-forward account for your legal fees. The "retained" attorney cannot take money out of this retainer before earning it. How an attorney earns his fees from this retainer should be outlined in the fee agreement. Before having a potential client sign a fee agreement (and become a client), attorneys should permit the potential client independently review the fee agreement. In addition, if the attorney is discharged or withdraws from the case, the attorney must return any portion of the unearned fee.

    Question 2. Do I have to pay more money down the line for an investigator?

    This is dependent upon the terms of fee agreement. Read it carefully and ask questions, preferably before you sign the agreement.

    Question 3. What is the definition of a CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY?

    Other than being an attorney in the state in question, there are no specific requirements for becoming a criminal defense attorney. However, by itself, because laws vary state by state, simply being an attorney does not make the attorney able to properly practice criminal law in a specific state. However, the law permits an attorney to provide adequate representation in a wholly novel area of law through necessary study. Competent representation can also be provided through the association of a attorney of established competence in the field in question. However, this all does not come without cost: be prepared to pay for your attorney's study-time, if the attorney is not a criminal defense attorney by trade.

    However, some jurisdictions permit attorneys to claim they are "specialists," if they pass an additional "specialist" exam. These specialist attorneys will often advertise their specialization, so they will not be hard to spot.

    Nevertheless, protect yourself. Always ask.

    The above is neither legal advice nor should it substitute for proper legal advice. Legal information is not the... more
  3. Jasen Bodie Nielsen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . The answer to your question depends on the agreement a client has with their attorney, and what stage the case is at. It sounds as if you're having a dispute with your attorney regarding fees. If so, schedule a meeting with them to hopefully work these issues out. Best of luck.

    Jasen Nielsen

  4. Andrew Stephen Roberts

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . The terms of your written agreement dictate what your criminal defense attorney is obligated to do. Investigator fees are typically not included as the responsibility of the attorney .

    Andrew Roberts (818) 597-0633/ (805) 496-7777
  5. Michael Moshe Levin

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . Click on the following link for a full explanation:
    http://www.wegmanlevin.com/areasofpractice/crim...

    The opinions rendered herein are based on general principles of law. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction... more
  6. Vijay Dinakar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . California State Bar requires a written contract for attorney services where the bill exceeds $1000. The rules also require that the attorney furnish a duplicate signed copy to the client. Assuming your fee exceeded $1000, you should have a written contract which sets out the entirety of the agreement between the attorney and the client (you). The contract should be sufficiently clear. If you had any questions about the content of the contract, you should have inquired and satisfied yourself that you understood before signing. As for "extra fees" - trial fees, expert witness fees, investigator fees, etc - this should be stated clearly and precisely in the contract. If you didn't understand any element of the contract you definitely should not have agreed and paid any money. Do you ask such questions of a heart surgeon, dentist, or auto mechanic if you hire them to provide you with services? That is do you rhetorically pose the question of "what is the definition of a heart surgeon, dentist, auto mechanic after hiring one of these professionals? Time to have a chat your attorney. If you don't trust him, hire another attorney.

    For a Free Consultation Call: 408.313.5607
  7. John R Rodriguez

    Contributor Level 5

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You’ve asked what is the definition of a criminal defense attorney and what the attorney is required to do for the client when they are hired, i.e. investigate

    The criminal defense attorney is sworn to zealously defend and protect their client’s constitutional rights when the government files criminal charges. One of the more important sections in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct states that the attorney is considered a representative of the client. California and other states require the attorney to take an oath to support the constitution and to faithfully perform their duty to the best of their knowledge and ability. There is a well-established ethical and moral expectation that requires the criminal defense attorney to zealously represent the client, within the bounds of the law. In other words, a defense attorney can be defined as being an advocate that will fight to protect your constitutional rights once you hire him/her. The attorney is expected to represent you with courage, devotion, and to challenge the quality of the evidence against their client and make the prosecution prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The attorney performs their duty by conducting their own investigation when appropriate and collecting all the evidence in the case. Investigative cost should always be discussed in advance because they are not necessary included in the attorney’s fee. All cost should be outlined in the contract to prevent confusion.
    The scope of the attorney’s job will normally include:
    • Attending the bail hearing and arraignment
    • Appear at all readiness conferences or court hearings
    • Investigate the case and interview witnesses
    • Research case law, statutes, crimes codes and procedural law
    • Build a defense and develop a case strategy
    • Negotiate with the prosecution to plea bargain to lesser charges
    • Draft, file and argue motions such as motions to dismiss and motions to suppress
    • Advocate for the defendant at trial

  8. Jeff Krigel

    Contributor Level 12

    6

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You seem to be rather stressed. Think of it this way: we get about $250 and hour for about a minimum of four hours and merely stand next to you in court because we know the procedure. If you just walked up and said guilty they'd throw the book at you; when we do it we can parlay and get you on probation.

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