When you or a loved one are facing a criminal charge you are in a vulnerable position. There are many people who will take advantage of that vulnerability. There are even those who will pretend to be a lawyer and make promises that they could never keep in order to get your trust and more importantly for them, your money.
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A recent case reported in the Los Angeles Daily Journal is a good example of that.
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One elderly woman in Los Angeles paid a man who told her that he was an experienced criminal lawyer $22,000. She was promised that in return for this payment of $22,000 he would see to it that her husband who was doing a sentence of 25 years to life for a murder would be released from prison. The “masquerading lawyer” went so far as to tell her that her husband would be released from prison on an exact date and she could pick him up at the train station on that date. The women went to the train station excited to see her husband exit the train and run into her arms. Of course her husband was not on the train. He was in prison and remains in prison.
When the women called the “lawyer” she had hired, she heard a voice mail message from the State Bar of California telling her that his office had been shut down and he was the subject on an investigation.
Finally, this man was arrested and last week he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for many counts of the unauthorized practice of law as well as grand theft. However, it is extremely unlikely that this elderly woman or any of this mans other “victims” will ever see a dime of their money back from him.
The best advise that you can ever receive is DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER until you check out the lawyers background. Make sure they have a high quality website. Make sure you see that they have an “AV rating” from Martindale Hubbell a highly respected lawyer rating system. Then go the State Bar of California website to make sure they are in good standing and do not have any prior state bar discipline. Who you hire as your lawyer in a criminal matter can often be the difference between jail and freedom. Make sure you do your homework before selecting that lawyer. You deserve only the best representation.
If you have any questions about this article or any questions about your criminal case contact Wallin and Klarich at (888) 749-0034. Our law firm has an AV rating and have been helping people with their criminal matters for almost 30 years.