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How to Find a Good Criminal Defense Attorney in San Diego

Facing criminal charges of any kind is a life-changing experience, and if you are convicted you will face many negative changes in your life. While it’s easy for anyone to feel lost, hopeless, and uncertain in this difficult situation, many people facing criminal prosecution in San Diego, CA have more defenses available to them than they initially realize. They may also fail to realize the importance of having the right criminal defense attorney representing them through their case proceedings.

How to find a good criminal defense attorney in San Diego

After an arrest and booking, California state law allows an arrested suspect to make three phone calls. If you find yourself in this situation, one of these calls should be to a family member to let them know what is happening. Another should be to an experienced criminal defense attorney you can trust to handle your case. However, many people wonder how to find the right defense attorneys to represent them in their criminal cases or why they need to hire attorneys in the first place.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

It’s understandable to wonder why you would need to hire a private criminal defense attorney, especially if you have been wrongfully accused or you have the option to hire a public defender free of charge. If you are innocent of the charges against you, do not make the mistake of believing that you can simply explain your side of the story and put the issue behind you.

In most cases, the police are concerned with their conviction numbers and have little to no incentive to help accused suspects avoid prosecution. Also, while a public defender is available free of charge from the court, it’s important to understand the differences between what a public defender can do for your case and what an experienced private defense attorney can provide.

While most public defenders are capable and hardworking defense lawyers, they must handle multiple cases at a time. This leaves them very little room for flexibility when it comes to providing each of their clients with individual attention. By comparison, you can expect a much higher level of personalized defense representation when you hire an experienced private criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.

What to Expect From Your Attorney

A good defense attorney should work quickly to help their client determine their most viable defenses. Your attorney must carefully scrutinize the details of your arrest and booking to ensure the police upheld due process through this stage of your case. If you experienced any violation of your civil or constitutional rights, be sure to notify your attorney and they can determine the best options for addressing these issues.

Your defense attorney will represent you through all your case proceedings, from preliminary hearings and arraignment to the trial itself. In the event you are guilty of the charges against you, plea bargaining may be in your best interest. If the prosecution is willing to lower your sentence in exchange for a swift guilty plea, this can dramatically reduce the cost of your case and could lead to a much lighter penalty. You can rely on an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you make informed decisions about the direction of your case.


The defense attorneys at Zentz & Zentz have extensive experience with a wide range of criminal cases in San Diego, CA, and we know the challenges facing many of the people in this situation. We field lots of questions from prospective clients regarding their legal options. The following are some of the most common questions we hear pertaining to finding the right criminal defense attorney for your case.

Q: What Defines a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A: Perhaps the most important trait to consider when you need to hire a criminal defense attorney is experience. You should not only find a lawyer with a long history of criminal defense practice but also specific experience handling your type of criminal case. For example, if you are facing homicide charges in San Diego, you need to have a criminal defense attorney with a solid track record of successful past homicide defense cases.

Q: When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A: Ideally, you should secure legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest. It can feel like the system is working against you, and you are pressured to make a decision regarding your defense immediately, But, the sooner you retain a defense attorney, the better your chances will be of defeating the charges against you.

Q: Are Criminal Defense Lawyers Expensive?

A: It’s natural to worry about the potential cost of legal fees when you need a defense lawyer. Some defense attorneys will charge flat rates for specific types of cases that generally unfold quickly. For other, more involved criminal cases, defense attorneys may bill their client by the hour, and legal fees will increase the longer a case takes to complete.

Q: How Much Do the Best Defense Lawyers Cost?

A: Every criminal defense attorney has their own billing policy. Some charge flat rates for specific types of defense cases while others bill their clients hourly. Before agreeing to a defense attorney’s services, be sure you understand their billing policy.

Discuss Your Case With Zentz & Zentz

Hopefully, this information helps you understand your situation a bit more clearly. Time is one of the most crucial factors when you are facing any kind of criminal charges. The sooner you secure defense representation, the better your chances will be of successfully navigating your case with minimal penalty or securing an acquittal.

The attorneys at Zentz & Zentz have extensive experience handling a wide range of criminal cases, from driving under the influence (DUI) charges to violent crimes. We take time to get to know each client’s unique situation to provide them with the most comprehensive and meticulous defense counsel possible. An initial consultation is a great option for anyone facing criminal charges, allowing them an opportunity to evaluate a potential defense lawyer and make a more informed decision about their case. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an experienced and reliable criminal defense lawyer in San Diego, CA, contact Zentz & Zentz to learn more about the legal services our team can provide.

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