You realize your asking a bunch of other lawyers to speak badly about your lawyer. The time an attorney spends on your case is a function of the complexity of the case and the wishes of the client and also the fees paid under the contract you signed. Every lawyer is different. If you are dissatisfied with your lawyer call someone else.
No. Hiring a lawyer does not automatically get you a not guilty verdict or dismissal. A good lawyer will conduct an investigation of the case and negotiate the best plea possible with the DA, short of going to trial. If you don't want the plea, take your chances at trial.
The lawyer you hired cannot guarantee a dismissal.
Any information provided through Avvo.com in response to a question is not, and cannot be considered a formation of any Attorney-Client relationship. Questioner understands that the nature of this system allows only for a cursory review of case information, and more detailed information should not be divulged in this public forum. As such, Questioner is recommended to contact an Attorney in order to discuss the full details of their case and a more specific advisement of potential rights and liabilities.
It's not unusual for an attorney to begin working on a plea bargain early in the case. Most attorneys are adept at reviewing a case quickly and deciding which path is going to be best for the client i.e. plea bargain or trial. As the client, you have the final say on which path to take, but consider your attorney's advice very carefully.
If the DA offers a plea, your attorney has an ethical obligation to communicate that offer to you. You are then free to say no. Many many clients claim to be innocent. That claim is of minimal importance to an attorney. What is important is the evidence and the lawyer's assessment of whether a jury will convict if presented with the evidence at trial. Even if you tell your lawyer you are going to trial no matter what, he still has an obligation to explore pleas with the DA and communicate to you any offers made. An attorney who simply says, "My client is innocent, this offer will be of no interest to him," is not a good attorney--even though you may feel great knowing that he is working hard for you.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
Sometimes clients and lawyers do not communicate well together. Plea bargaining is not necessarily detrimental to your case. From the offers being made by the DA you can judge with perceived strength or weakness of the DA case. I say perceived because you can see if the DA feels weak or strong.
Sometimes if the DA feels strong and the facts are weak, then you know the DA is bluffing and isn't seeing the entire case. This means he or she will make mistakes in trial because they feel like they already one. On the other hand a low offer may indicate a DA who doesn't realize the strength of their case or they could be lazy and is trying to get rid of the case.
Hire someone else if you're not happy.
The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.
I empathize with your situation. It's a common pitfall for many clients and practitioners.
The main causes are:
1) a client that only hears what they want to hear when they consult with an attorney
2) an attorney that makes sweeping promises that he has business making, that mislead a client into expecting an outcome before the attorney has ever had a chance to know anything about the case.
Client's sometimes believe that simply hiring a private lawyer somehow guarantees them
a dismissal of the charges. Its a common misconception and I believe its our job as lawyers to educate them about the legal process. I find that when you sit down with a client and honestly talk about their situation and what you can reasonably expect ahead, they will have a much more realistic view of their case. Some attorneys believe in the hard sell. ("I'll get your case dropped, etc.") Just sign on the dotted line. That's a disservice to your client and to yourself. Not only can you not honestly guarantee anything, but now you have a walking time bomb of a client who will not be satisfied with anything BUT a dismissal.
I have my share of dismissals and not guilty verdict but I find that its always a labor of hard work, and I never promise anything but my best efforts.
As far as the asker's situation, I agree with my colleagues. If you are innocent, then you shouldn't have to accept a guilty plea. But your attorney is required to tell you if there is a plea bargain offer. Its up to you to take it or keep fighting the charges. Just because you paid a private attorney doesn't guarantee you a dismissal. Its akin to the Angels signing Albert Pujols. He doesn't guarantee a ring, just his best efforts.
I would agree with everything posted here, but would also like to add that an experienced attorney's opinion that a plea bargain may be in a client's best interest can be extremely valuable.
An inexperienced attorney may take a brief look at the facts of the case and decide that it is weak without realizing that certain kinds of evidence may be adduced at the trial making the prosecution's case much stronger. As a general rule, a plea bargain should leave the client better off than had they gone to trial and lost. An attorney's belief that a trial is not in someone's best interest because they would likely lose may save the client significant hardship.
SLG Criminal Law Group
515 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071