Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City: The Good

I remember being at a doctor's office with a broken wrist and the doctor telling me my wrist wasn't broken. 

"We looked at the X-Rays and they appear fine," he said. 
"Doc, I've broken my wrist before and I know what it feels like. I'm certain it's broken." 
"No, you're fine. Trust me." 

Well, I couldn't sleep that night from the pain. In the morning, I went to another, larger hospital for a second opinion. They took an X-Ray and of course my wrist was broken. 

Hiring a criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City is a lot like that. Experience and knowledge in any profession goes across the spectrum. I've known some criminal defense attorneys in Salt Lake City that were so awful I heard judges, in private of course, wondering how it was they had kept their bar licenses. On the flip side, I have seen some criminal defense attorneys in Salt Lake City that have blown my mind with some of the creative tactics they've used. 

I'm very fortunate to be a partner at this firm and have the ability to spot these characteristics in criminal defense attorneys and hire the ones that impress me. We hired one attorney away from another firm for the simple fact that he was aggressive and smart. I knew he would be an excellent attorney at our firm and I had to have him. 

Many criminal defense firms in Salt Lake don't realize the talent that they might have in their associates. Perhaps because I come from a business background, when I recognize talent, I know we need to add it to our roster as quickly as possible. 

It takes time to hire a good criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City. Don't just hire the first person you speak with: call around. I tell all potential clients to speak with at least three other firms. This is a big decision, especially for those facing prison time, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. 

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City: The Bad

So how do you spot bad criminal defense attorneys? Hard to say since it varies, but here are some general tips:

a. If a criminal defense attorney is rude to you on the phone, they will probably be rude to you during the case. Avoid this. Criminal defense is a service and you are the customer. You should be treated with respect. 

b. If a criminal defense attorney charges too little, they probably don't have the experience or the knowledge you need. A good attorney knows how much time each criminal defense case takes and charges accordingly. If they are charging you too little, that generally means they plan on spending as little time on the case as possible. This isn't always true, but in my experience this seems to be the trend. 

c. If a criminal defense attorney charges too much, they may be inflating what they can do for you. I've known some criminal defense attorneys here in Salt Lake City that charge triple what everyone else does and promise a dismissal to the client. When the dismissal eventually doesn't come, the criminal defense attorney shrugs and says, "Oh well. That's life." Call around and check out what everyone is charging. A difference of a few thousand dollars is okay, but if someone is charging twenty thousand more than everyone else, that may be a problem. 

d. If a criminal defense attorney has no staff, that may be a problem. I cannot tell you how much I rely on the hard work of my staff. How well I do on my cases is a direct result of how well my staff works in the background, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, coordinating with the courts. If I didn't have them, all the little things that go into a case would have to be done by me personally. This would take time away from me doing what I do best: coming up with a legal strategy to win my client's case. 

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City: The Ugly

It is a sad fact of the criminal defense world that there are some attorneys that will take a client's money, not do a thing for them, and then refuse to give any of the money back when the client requests a refund. It makes all of us hard working criminal defense attorneys here in Salt Lake look bad and it makes the attorney profession look bad. 

How to Hire a Good Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies here. Do your research, speak or preferably meet with your potential criminal defense attorney in person, ask lots of questions, and make a good judgement. A good criminal defense attorney can make the difference between winning your case and going to jail. Don't leave that decision up to chance.


Yossof Sharifi

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Salt Lake County Jail: How to Get Your Loved Ones Out

Salt Lake County Jail: The Arrest

If a loved one is being held at the jail, it means he was arrested for a crime or crimes that the police believe them to have committed.

The police either had an arrest warrant and executed it, meaning they found your loved one and brought them in, or they arrested them at or near a crime scene. Once someone is arrested in Salt Lake County, they are then taken to the Salt Lake County Jail for booking. The booking process can be slow or fast depending on how busy the jail is at that time. It will involve booking photos, fingerprints, intake forms, and of course, a full body-cavity search.

Many people think they are entitled to a phone call at this point because that is what happens in movies when someone is arrested. That is definitely not the case and the guards get annoyed fairly quickly about inmates screaming for a phone call.

If you or a loved one are arrested, don't fight, keep your mouth shut, and make sure to hire a good criminal defense lawyer.

Salt Lake County Jail: The First 48 Hours

After the booking process, the prosecution has 72 hours to file an information officially bringing charges against the inmate. If they fail to meet that 72 hours, the inmate is released. If they meet the deadline and file the charges, the inmate will then have an arraignment date set with the court that has jurisdiction. Many arraignments are handled at the Salt Lake County Jail itself by video arraignment.

Salt Lake County Jail: The Arraignment

Your loved one will be arraigned in front of a judge. Bail will be determined and an offer may even be made by the prosecution on the case. Public defenders are there to help people plead guilty or to set things out to a regular court hearing.

I really do not recommend pleading guilty at this stage. Your attorney will not have any of the information and you run the risk of pleading guilty to a case that might be won. It's much better to plead not-guilty and let an attorney take care of the case for you.

Salt Lake County Jail: The Bail

Bail is a tricky issue. For many judges, the default position is to set bail higher than needed to ensure the appearance of the inmate at future court proceedings. The two issues the judge will be looking at to determine if someone receives bail are threat to the community, and flight risk. If you do not meet either of these criteria, you will likely get bail.

After bail is received you may hire a bail-bondsman  This is someone for which you pay 10% of the total bail amount and they post a bond and secure your release. There are many good bondsman out there. Our law firm uses Dewey's Bail-bonds as they have consistently worked with our clients and get them out of jail in a very short amount of time.

Salt Lake County Jail: The Release

Once released on bail, hire an attorney right away. Too many people attempt to represent themselves and I watch in court as they get railroaded and receive far stiffer penalties than they need to. Do not let this happen to you. Hire an attorney, don't speak to anyone else about the case, and let the attorney handle everything.

A good criminal defense attorney should walk you through the process step-by-step and explain to you everything that's expected of you. They can make the process much easier. I don't fix the plumbing at my house: I hire a specialist for it because they can do it better and quicker and cheaper if you take into account how many things can go wrong with me attempting to fix the problem myself.

Criminal offenses in Utah are no laughing matter and the Salt Lake County Jail is not a fun place for anybody. Don't think short-term. Hire an attorney, have them hire a bailbondsman, and get you out so you can move on with your life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to Get a Terrible Utah DUI Attorney

Bad Utah DUI Attorneys

There seems to be a lot of blogs talking about how to get good Utah DUI attorneys and most of them point the finger back to the DUI attorney writing the blog. So instead of being tacky and doing that, I thought I would discuss the ways in which you can go about and hire the worst DUI attorneys out there.

If you received a DUI and you're looking for a DUI attorney, then just follow these steps and you're certain to ruin your life:

Steps to Hiring Really, Really Bad Utah DUI Attorneys

Step 1: Hire someone from a billboard:

Ah, the ole' billboard. Used by many a fast-food restaurant to make you hungry on the long drive home. Not to bash them too much, but Park City, Utah is one of the most beautiful cities in the nation and a big part of that is that they have completely banned billboards. Billboards are little more than annoying mind pollution but the billboard lobby in Utah is so powerful doing what Park City did is nearly impossible now.

But lawyers love their billboards. Check out this gem:

Nice. I'm sure that was  a good $30,000 well spent.

Step 2: Get your DUI attorney to guarantee a victory: 

After you call a DUI attorney off a billboard (or bus advertisement or bus bench, anything having to do with buses really), then call and set an appointment. Then tell him or her that you demand a guarantee that they will get your case dismissed with an apology from the judge. Don't settle for even a traffic ticket with a $50 fine. Demand the apology too, just to teach the judge and the prosecutors and police that you won't be hassled if you commit a crime.

Hire only a DUI attorney that's willing to give you a guarantee. After all, they have none of the evidence at this point, haven't spoken to a single witness, haven't watched any videos, and don't know anything about your case. They must be super-humanly skilled at DUI's, predicting the future, and manipulating public officials if they can guarantee a victory.

Because if they don't follow through, you have a lot of options. For example, you can ask for your money back at which point they'll tell you no. And then you can begin a three year law suit at which time you will probably lose anyway. But you will annoy the DUI attorney for sure.

Step 3: Lie to the attorney about everything: 

DUI attorneys love when you lie to them. It keeps the element of surprise when they go into the courtroom and the prosecutor and police know more about your case than they do. DUI attorneys also love looking like fools in front of judges. Again, it's about variety here so if they went in and did a good job every time with perfect knowledge about your case, they'd get bored. So keep them on their toes and lie about everything, including your name and address if possible.

Step 4: Yell at everyone:

DUI attorneys don't like everyone being polite to them. Call them frequently and yell, even if they're doing a great job. Think of it as reminding them that you're the boss. You might think that this would annoy them and they won't work as hard and just withdraw from your case, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. DUI attorneys are masochists and they would like nothing more than the occasional yelling. Holidays, evenings and weekends work best.

Step 5: Tell them it's their fault as you're hauled to jail:

Inevitably, you will be taken to jail if you follow these steps. But don't waste this opportunity to yell that it was their fault for not fighting hard enough.

Using these steps, you're sure to ruin your life over what should be just a simple case that a good DUI attorney could get dropped to a traffic offense.

In case sarcasm isn't your bag, these are clearly the worst things you can do if you have a DUI. If you want sound advice and to have your DUI taken care of quickly and quietly, find a top-notch DUI attorney on the internet and pay him what he needs to do a good job. Go too cheap, and you're better off going in by yourself and saving the attorney fees for the fines to the court.

So find the right DUI attorney online, be prepared to pay what a top notch professional in any field charges for their services, and then sit back and let them handle the headache.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys: A Paralegal's Perpective

Note: This contribution is from the paralegal staff at Sharifi & Baron PLLC

Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys: What I Think They Do

When I tell people I work for a criminal defense attorney’s office, they always ask how I feel about it.  The assumption is that if you work for a criminal defense attorney, you will be dealing with hard criminals on a daily basis and that you are working to put these criminals back on the street.  The underlying implication is that this is morally wrong and something I shouldn’t be proud to be a part of. The reality of it is, there is a wide spectrum of innocent to guilty clients.  

Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys: What Everyone Else Thinks They Do

We are taught that we are “innocent until proven guilty.”  This certainly stands true in criminal defense.  The important thing to note is that many of our clients are innocent, and we are trying to help prove it.  Admittedly, some of our clients are guilty, and don’t try to hide it.  Those client’s, however, aren’t trying to get away unscathed, they are trying to make amends and get on with their lives.  From a moral perspective, our office isn’t trying to litter the streets with criminals, but trying to get just and fair deals for our clients.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys: Why they do what they do

Many of our clients believe cooperating with the police means they will get a better deal in the end.  In cooperating with the police however, sometimes they say things that will lead to their conviction or admit guilt, regardless of whether or not they are truly guilty.  Many people are intimidated into saying things that they don’t mean or aren’t true.  Often times, detectives do what they call “blind calls” where they will have an alleged victim call the person they are accusing, and try to get them to admit guilt.  This is done without the accused knowing the detective is listening in on a third line.  This is completely legal, by the way.  Other times, detectives will interrogate suspects and say what they feel is necessary to get them to admit guilt, regardless of whether or not the information they are feeding you is true.  This is also legal.

Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys: What They Actually Do

For me, from a moral perspective, criminal defense attorneys are trying to help prevent confusion within the legal system.  When a client comes in and admits they are guilty, they aren’t asking our attorneys to get them off scot-free; they are asking our attorneys to help them right their wrongs.  Many are aware of the reality that they will have to pay a fine, do community service, or in extreme cases, serve jail-time.  These clients, however, are very aware and have accepted the fact that this is the case, and our attorney’s don’t hide the probability of these outcomes. 

 The way I look at it, the only way to defend yourself is to know your rights.  To know your rights, you have to understand the law.  The problem is that there is so much law - both federal and state -  that unless you’ve studied the law significantly, there is no way for you to truly understand it.  The way I look at it, this is why our attorneys are here.
On some level I understand why people might question my job. We aren’t here putting hardened criminals back out on the streets, rather, we are here to protect you, and your rights.  Criminal defense attorneys work hard to fight for you within the law.  They know how to navigate the system, and they guide you through it.