Interview Questions

#1: What made you choose a career in criminal law?

I was the third grade kid who knew exactly what he wanted to do for a living: defend people in court. Back then, I obviously could not articulate that I wanted to be a "criminal defense attorney;" but I knew that I wanted to be in court defending people who were accused of doing bad stuff.

#2: In your opinion, what sets your firm apart from other firms in the area?

I pick up my calls. I care. I take interest in the case. I take all the time necessary to get to know the circumstances (societal, economic, personal, etc.,) to figure out how to put the accused's best foot forward. Sometimes there are money factors (i.e., I had to feed my kids.), sometimes there are personal issues (depression; my wife left me; I just lost my house, etc…). You won't know if you don't ask, and you won't ask if you don't truly care.

#3: Tell us about a case that you are particularly proud of:

I'm most proud of cases where defendants turn their lives around. I'm not proud of "results" based on what they mean for me or my career. I'm proud of results because of what they do for the defendant.

There are cases where I got great results in court, but the defendant reoffended and did not manage to turn his life around. I'm not proud of those cases, even though I did everything perfectly and obtained an excellent result; and even though those cases added a feather to my cap.

I am more proud of cases where I obtained a good disposition and the defendant took that disposition and learned how to improve him/herself. Those are the types of cases that make me proud because after all, that's my job: to improve a person's life.

A few years back, I received a call from a woman who had been arrested for a DUI. She was arrested after working her first night as a dancer at a gentlemen's club. She was formerly a classically trained ballerina. She was going to school to become an EMT but was short on money. She became desperate and turned to nude dancing to make ends-meet. On her first day, she drank some vodka to ease her nerves. Having little drinking experience, the two or three drinks she had were sufficient to render her DUI. She was arrested and got released the next morning.

After getting released, she went back to work, drank a little, and got arrested AGAIN for a DUI: 2 back-to-back DUI's. Long story short, I got both of the DUI's dismissed. She pled to one count of wet reckless on only one case. How? I cared, so I asked. I asked, so I learned. I learned, so I communicated. It's all about painting a picture.

But that's not what I'm most proud of; don't get me wrong, it was a killer disposition. What I'm proud of is that she went on to get a degree and is now working as a firefighter!

#4: What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?

Each case is different. Each client is different. It depends on the case and the personalities involved: everyone from the defendant to the judge and prosecutor. That is often just as important as the actual facts of the case.

#5: How do you view your role in the attorney-client relationship?

My role develops with the case. I'm hardly ever just an attorney. I'm a friend, trusted advisor, supporter, advocate, safe-keeper, therapist, and sometimes an enforcer.

#6: What sets you apart from other criminal defense attorneys – why is this important?

I try to relate. I don't have an attorney façade. My goal is to always instill upon my clients that I'm as ordinary as they are. This creates rapport and builds trust. I'm from the same streets that most of my clients are from. I went to the same public schools; walked the same streets; faced the same challenges and adversities. Many attorneys say "I'm one of you;" I don't have to say it because they can see it.

#7: How does having experience benefit your clients?

Having experience is essential, but it is meaningless if you don't care and/or if you cannot relate. I have both the experience that comes from having handled a great number of criminal cases successfully, along with the ability to relate to my clients and I take the time to understand their particular circumstances.

#8: What types of cases do you specifically handle?

All criminal defense cases, including domestic violence, drug crimes, DUI, sex crimes and white collar crimes.

#9: In your opinion, what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I called a client yesterday who was facing one year in jail for a third DUI conviction. I have been working on his case for one year. I called him yesterday to update him as to what I was able to workout for him: no jail; six months of community service. Upon hearing this news, he started crying on the phone. That's the most rewarding part: knowing that I changed someone's life for the better. There is no better feeling.

#10: What advice do you most often give your clients & why?

Don't spend your precious time worrying about your case. You've hired me so that I can do the worrying for you. I'll let you know when it's time to freak out.

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Attorney Moises Aguilar

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