“Call for a free consultation” does not mean the same thing to everyone. When I advertise that, I mean that I will talk with you in generalities about your case, for free, to determine if I can help you out. The only time I charge people money to talk generally about their case, is if I have told them I cannot help them and they insist on meeting to discuss their case further. Many people see that claim and believe that they will be able to call me and I will tell them what to do.

First, not to sound like scrooge, but I have to make money to feed my family and I cannot get paid if I tell you what to do over the phone. Now, I do often tell people what options I believe they have, but I will not discuss with you have to draft and file your own suppression motion over the phone.

More importantly, you generally do not want legal advice from someone who you have only spoken on the phone with for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes people will call me and ask if they should accept a felony plea offer. I will never tell someone to accept a plea unless I am involved in the case, because it is impossible for me to know all the factors going on. Even if you found a lawyer willing to tell you if the 3 years on your felony theft case is a good offer, you probably think twice about following their advice. I would imagine most advice about how terrible an offer is comes from a lawyer hoping you will decide to hire them. Of course, you may hire them to only have them review all of the evidence and decide that offer is not so bad after all.

The same goes for going on to message board or posting questions on legal Q&A boards, like Avvo.com. These websites are great places to get generic information and give you an idea of what to expect, but you should never make legal decisions based on their information. At the end of the day, you need to have a lawyer, whether a private lawyer or public defender, review your case in depth, before you make any decisions. The fast, cheap, and easy legal answer is rarely the one you want.