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How to Pick a Good Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted by Joel Bailey | Jul 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

If you've never been arrested, and aren't familiar with the system, how do you know which criminal defense attorney to pick?

If you look online or in the yellow pages, it seems every attorney these days boasts about being the best, making promises regarding their experience, reputation and abilities, but what criteria should you consider in choosing someone to represent you in court?


Would you want someone just starting out in law to represent you in court, when you are risking potential fines, imprisonment and losing control of your life?  Of course not.  What about someone who claims to be an “expert”, but handles many different types of law?  No way.

When you interview an attorney (and yes, you are interviewing the attorney for the potential job of representing you), you must ask these important questions:

  1. How long have you been practicing law?
  2. How many cases like mine have you handled?
  3. Do you know the judges, prosecutors and court staff?
  4. How long have you been appearing in the court where my case is located?
  5. How many jury trials have you conducted?
  6. Have you even been sued for malpractice, or had your license suspended?

As a San Diego County criminal defense attorney, I have practiced exclusively criminal law since 1993.  I have handled thousands of DUI's, Domestic Violence, Drug cases, Rape, molest, murder and white collar crimes, all over San Diego County and California.  I have had an office across the street from the Vista courthouse for twenty years, and interact with the Judges, DA's and public defenders on a regular basis.  I have conducted over 60 jury trials and constantly upgrade my knowledge of law by reading caselaw, participating in forums online, and attending specialty seminars to fine-tune my craft.  I have a perfect record with the bar, and have never been sued or disciplined.  You want an attorney you can trust, but don't be afraid to ask about their history and experience.


Although anyone with a bar card had to pass a very rigorous exam to practice law in California, as the attorney where they went to undergraduate and law school.  Do they regularly attend seminars and keep current on the law in criminal defense?

I was born in San Diego, went to high school at La Jolla high, graduated from UCSB, and graduated with Honors from Western State University (now Thomas Jefferson University) in San Diego.  I have clerked for several different law firms prior to earning my degrees, and I have worked both for the Superior an Appellate Courts in San Diego.  I attend, participate and even conduct educational seminars in criminal law to be the most effective representative for my clients.


How does your potential attorney present himself and communicate facts with you, and for you?  An essential part of being an effective criminal defense attorney is the ability to make you comfortable that I understand your case, and can present it in the best light to the DA and judge.  An attorney that talks about himself all the time, and fails to ask you not only about the facts of your case, but also the facts of your life, is not able to effectively represent your interests in court.

Every client I have is important to me, and I personally take the time to discuss all the facts of the case from your point of view, to understand your version of what happened.  I then get a full perspective of your life experience, looking for information on how to best present your character, conduct, and life achievements to the DA and judge.  Acquiring that information, and being able to organize and articulate the strong points of both your case and character to the DA and judge is a very effective way to best represent your interests in court.


You must be able to trust that the attorney you hire to represent you is committed to getting producing the best outcome for you.  Big law firms with fancy buildings and numerous staff have a large overhead, you represent a necessary number to feed their system and keep their lights on.  I handle fewer cases, and personally commit to achieve the very best results, without “passing the buck” to anyone else.  Ask any attorney you interview if he or she will personally handle every aspect of your case, and make sure you have the confidence to know they're the best person to fight for you.

My practice is based on a simple philosophy:  Work hard, be honest, educate my clients, and fight for the rights and interests of my clients.

Call today for a free consultation to see why I am the best attorney to help in your time of need.

Joel Bailey

Bailey Criminal Defense, Inc.

760 643 4025

About the Author

Joel Bailey

ATTORNEY BIO & EXPERIENCE Attorney Joel W. Bailey was born and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated from La Jolla High School, and earned degrees in Psychology, Sociology and Political Science from UC Santa Barbara, as well as completing a semester at the Universidad de Madrid in Spain....


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