In communities such as Bakersfield, many people who are faced with the need to hire a criminal defense attorney mistakenly believe that retaining a “Big City” attorney from Los Angeles gives them a better chance at successfully defending themselves. Unfortunately, often times this could not be further from the truth. As a case in point, consider the circumstances of Mike R., a resident of Los Angeles who was stopped in Kern County on his way to the Bay Area. After being pulled over for DUI, Mike was also found to be in possession of Ecstasy. He was arrested and charged with Transportation of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code section 11379) and DUI (Vehicle Code section 23152) among other charges. Due to the fact that he had a Strike Prior and had been sentenced to prison within the past five years, he was facing a potential sentence of 9 years in state prison. Initially, Mike was represented by an attorney from Los Angeles. That attorney represented him through the preliminary hearing stage, but in an effort to settle the case before trial, was only able to obtain an offer from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office of 4 years in prison. Realizing that a local attorney may benefit him, Mike retained the Law Office of Joel E. Lueck and today was placed on probation and sentenced to 6 MONTHS in county jail.
The point is that although every county is bound by the laws of the State of California, each county interprets and applies those laws differently. Having an attorney who practices in the community and has a proven track record of success is what those charged with crimes should look for, rather than falling prey to the mistaken belief that an attorney from Los Angeles is their best option simply based upon the location of their office.