Best Visalia Criminal Lawyers
Finding the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Visalia, CA
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Visalia, CA, having the right criminal defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Choosing the best attorney to represent you in a criminal case is super important – it could impact whether charges get reduced or even dismissed. I know searching for a lawyer can feel overwhelming though. There are so many options and you want to make sure you find someone truly skilled in criminal law with plenty of experience representing clients in Visalia courts. Don’t worry, I’m here to help! In this article, I’ll go over tips on how to find the best criminal defense lawyers in Visalia. I’ll also highlight some of the top rated and most experienced local attorneys to consider hiring.
What Makes a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer in Visalia?
When researching criminal defense lawyers in the Visalia area, there are a few key qualities you’ll want to look for:
Specialized Experience with Criminal Law
Make sure any lawyer you consider has extensive experience specifically handling criminal cases. Criminal law is a complex field – you don’t want someone whose primary practice areas are things like personal injury or estate planning. Look for attorneys who focus solely on criminal defense and have represented many clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies. They should be intimately familiar with California criminal statutes and Visalia courts.
Strong Negotiation and Trial Skills
The best criminal lawyers have sharp negotiation skills to work out favorable plea bargains or pre-trial diversions to avoid conviction. If a case does go to trial, your attorney needs to be a confident litigator able to argue persuasively before judges and juries. Prior experience taking criminal cases all the way through trial is a must. An attorney’s track record of getting charges dismissed or reduced is also telling.
Knowledge of Visalia Courts and Prosecutors
Make sure any lawyer you hire has extensive firsthand experience dealing with Visalia prosecutors and judges. An understanding of the local courts and how they tend to handle certain charges and sentencing is invaluable. Look for attorneys who have built relationships with prosecutors and judges in Tulare County. This can really help when negotiating pleas or pushing for dismissals.
Strong Client Communication Skills
The legal process following criminal charges can be terrifying and confusing. You need an attorney who will clearly explain your options, keep you updated on your case, and make you feel comfortable asking questions. Look for lawyers who are compassionate, patient communicators. Beware attorneys who seem rushed or too busy to address your concerns.
Affordable Fee Options
Top criminal defense lawyers aren’t cheap – but they also shouldn’t be unaffordable. Look for attorneys who offer flat fees or payment plans for their services to make things more budget friendly. Wary of lawyers who overcharge for basic services or pile on excessive fees. Transparent attorneys will provide fee estimates upfront.
Top Visalia Criminal Defense Lawyers to Consider
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the most experienced and effective criminal defense attorneys practicing in the Visalia area:
1. The Law Office of Victoria Vertner
With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Victoria Vertner is one of the most seasoned defense lawyers in Visalia. She’s handled over 1,000 cases covering everything from DUIs and domestic violence charges to sex crimes and murder. Vertner is a tough litigator who isn’t afraid to take cases to trial. She’s secured many pre-trial dismissals and acquittals for clients over the years. Yet she also has a record of negotiating extremely favorable plea deals with reduced charges and minimum sentencing. Vertner is well-known for providing aggressive and personalized representation. Her fees are also quite reasonable compared to lawyers of her caliber.
2. Law Offices of Melo and Sarsfield
This firm is home to two of the most respected criminal defense attorneys in Visalia – Erin Melo and Elton Sarsfield. Together they have over 35 years of criminal law experience in Tulare County. Melo is a former prosecutor now dedicated to defending the accused. She has an impeccable track record of getting charges reduced and dismissed pre-trial. Sarsfield is a tough litigator who has secured many not guilty verdicts in serious felony cases. Clients praise this firm for their compassionate and supportive representation through very difficult circumstances. Their legal fees are also fair and they offer flexible payment plans.
3. The Law Office of Albert Garcia
Albert Garcia is a Visalia native who has built his law practice defending locals charged with crimes like DUI, theft, and assault. He has over 20 years of criminal law experience in the area.Garcia is known for carefully reviewing arrest reports and body cam footage to identify improper police conduct. He isn’t afraid to pursue motions to suppress evidence if a client’s rights were violated. This has led to many charges being dismissed pre-trial. Yet Garcia also has great relationships with prosecutors and can negotiate extremely favorable plea deals in applicable cases. Clients remark how supportive and accessible Garcia is during the stressful legal process.
4. The Law Offices of Vincent Martinez
Vincent Martinez worked as a Visalia prosecutor for over 15 years before switching sides to criminal defense. This unique perspective allows him to craft targeted defense strategies based on the approach of Visalia prosecutors. Martinez is an expert at poking holes in the prosecution’s case early and identifying improper investigatory practices. He’s known for filing very effective suppression motions. Yet he also has good relationships with local prosecutors that enable him to negotiate great plea bargains with reduced or dismissed charges when appropriate. Reasonable fees make Martinez an especially affordable option.
5. The Medina Law Firm
David Medina heads this 3-attorney firm focused exclusively on criminal defense in Tulare County. Medina has over 25 years of experience representing Visalia clients charged with DUIs, drug crimes, domestic violence, and more. Medina is a shrewd negotiator who has secured extremely favorable plea deals and pre-trial diversions for clients facing jail time. He’s also quite selective about taking cases to trial, boasting an impressive acquittal rate when he does. Past clients commend Medina for his straight-talking, compassionate approach. His firm also offers very reasonable rates and payment plans.
6. Mary Osborne, Attorney at Law
Mary Osborne is an experienced former public defender now in private practice. She focuses specifically on defending clients facing misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. Osborne really excels at navigating complex DUI cases involving accidents, injuries, or repeat offenses. She moves aggressively to examine breathalyzers and blood tests for flaws and procedural errors. Her meticulous preparation has led to many DUI acquittals at trial. Osborne also handles related DMV license suspension hearings. Reasonable fees make her services very affordable.
7. The Law Office of Thomas Baker
Thomas Baker is a Visalia criminal defense attorney with over 18 years of experience. He handles a wide range of misdemeanor and felony cases, with particular expertise defending clients accused of theft crimes and drug offenses. Baker is known for thoroughly analyzing the prosecution’s evidence and developing targeted case strategies. He has a great track record of getting charges dismissed pre-trial by raising reasonable doubt. Baker also has fantastic relationships with prosecutors that enable very favorable plea bargains. He offers reasonable flat fees and payment plans.
8. The Law Office of Shannon Applegate
Shannon Applegate focuses her practice exclusively on defending those accused of sex crimes in Visalia. With over 15 years of experience, she’s handled serious charges like child molestation, rape, and human trafficking. Applegate moves aggressively to examine the credibility of accusers and any police missteps. She also has great working relationships with local prosecutors and sex crime investigators. This has enabled many pre-trial diversions and plea deals with reduced charges for clients. Compassionate legal guidance combined with reasonable fees make Applegate a top choice for such sensitive cases.
Finding the Right Fit
I hope this overview gives you a great starting point for finding the best criminal defense lawyer for your particular situation in Visalia. Most of these attorneys offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to meet with a few before deciding on representation. Having an experienced professional who understands Visalia courts fighting on your behalf can make a huge difference. Don’t take chances with your freedom or criminal record – the right lawyer makes all the difference.