It was previously discussed that Donna is facing petty theft charges in criminal court. In Part 1, she had asked for a continuance from the Judge based on the fact that she wanted an attorney to represent her.
The right to an attorney is a Constitutional right and one that the Court takes very seriously. The Judge would not have denied Donna her request for a continuance should she want to hire an attorney. This hearing is called the Arraignment. At this appearance, Donna got a plea bargain offer from the Prosecutor. She did not enter a plea because she asked to have an attorney and was given a new date within thirty days.
Donna speaks to several different attorneys. One of the attorneys she speaks to is charged her a very minimal amount and another is charging a substantial amount. In addition, Donna considers seeking the help of a public defender because the public defender would be the most cost efficient and they are in court everyday and know the Judge. However, what Donna does not know is that while the Public Defender is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, he will not have time to speak to Donna one on one about the issues and concerns about her case. She will get approximately five to ten minutes to speak to him in Court on the day of her continued hearing.
The attorney charging a minimal amount is a new attorney who has been practicing less than five years. The attorney has just gone off on his own and while he knows his law and his cases, he is not familiar with the Los Angeles County courts. The attorney who is charging a substantial amount is charging that amount because he knows he can get Donna the results she is looking for. This attorney has been practicing in Los Angeles county for over 30 years and have a vested interest in each of his clients. He speaks to Donna about her case, strengths and weaknesses for over an hour prior to Donna ever having hired him. Getting a good vibe, Donna hires the experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer.
At the next arraignment date, the attorneys appears on Donna’s behalf. Donna does not need to appear. The attorney speaks to the Prosecutor, who already knows the attorney from years of handling cases in the same department and courthouse. The Prosecutor lays it out and tells the attorney the same offer that Donna has previously received.
Due to the experience of being in the Courtroom, the attorney knows its not a good offer for Donna’s specific case, and so he tells the Prosecutor, no and tells the Judge that he will be pleading not guilty and sets the case for Pre-Trial.
If it weren’t for the attorney’s experience and knowledge of the courthouse and that specific Prosecutor, he would not have known to not accept the offer. This is why consulting an experienced attorney is so crucial to your case.