If you are faced with a criminal case or charge, the first thing you have to do is find an attorney to represent you. With millions of active attorneys practicing different law areas, it can be overwhelming to think of where you should start looking. Selecting the right criminal defense attorney is a crucial decision and one that requires careful thinking and planning.
It can seem intimidating trying to go through various candidates to find the best criminal defense attorney, but doing so ensures that you get proper representation. Take your time to research, ask questions, and get to know each lawyer you meet since you will end up working with one of them. The repercussions and consequences of a criminal charge are far from desirable, so that is the last thing that you want to happen.
To help you find a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case, you will need to be critical about many different factors. Here are a few tips that may guide you in hiring the right person for the job. Get to know more about what to look for in a criminal lawyer, as well as advice on how you can proceed with your case.
Look for Passion
While skill, experience, and other technical factors indeed matter, it cannot be denied that a passionate lawyer shines in his or her field. Finding a passionate attorney gives you the assurance that you have someone who will work as much as they can to help you with your case.
The field of law is evidently not an easy one, which is why passion is so important to ensure that a lawyer is motivated to see your case to the end. Every case comes with its set of challenges and complexities, and you never know what may happen once it goes to court. However, a passionate lawyer will be sure to help you up until the verdict is out.
Ask How They Will Handle Your Case
While attorneys are not expected to memorize everything in their field, good criminal lawyers should be able to tell you a few things about your case off the top of their heads. After briefing them with your case, ask about how a lawyer plans to handle your case. A skilled lawyer will not necessarily have all the information ready for you but should be somewhat familiar with your case–enough to know how to go about it.
Find Someone Who Concentrates in Criminal Law
Law is an extremely broad field, and criminal law in itself covers many different areas. You do not necessarily have to find an attorney who practices criminal law exclusively, but make sure that he or she specializes in it. To get the best criminal defense attorney, you need to find someone who has experience handling different crimes to ensure that they know how to work with such cases.
Similarly, some criminal case lawyers may specialize in more specific cases or areas since the field is broad. For example, you may find that some focus on driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) charges, while others focus on white-collar crimes or appeals. Thus, try to ask about a lawyer’s specialization to ensure it aligns with your case.
Ask About Court Experience
When it comes to criminal cases, courtroom experience matters more than ever. Not all lawyers work with cases that go to trial, and while not all cases end up in court, you still want to be sure that you work with someone who has been in the courtroom multiple times. In a trial, everything happens so fast that your attorney can literally have seconds to defend a claim, which makes firsthand experience crucial.
At the same time, the best criminal defense attorney is well-versed with the local courts. Hire someone who is experienced in court trials where your case is pending. This way, you get an advantage since your attorney will be familiar with state laws and have local connections, which can prove to be effective when fighting for your case.
Look for Confidence, Not Arrogance
From your first meeting, you should already be able to get a good impression of an attorney to gauge whether you will be able to work well together. Ultimately, you want to look for someone who is confident in taking up your case, but not arrogant about their success rate. A confident attorney will present themselves well physically and in manner, and speak eloquently while discussing with you.
Confidence is one of the most important skills a lawyer must have in his or her arsenal. It is often considered to be the one trait that can differentiate a good lawyer from an excellent one, possibly since it is not easy to achieve. However, it is crucial in the legal field because a lawyer has to be able to trust themselves before a client can trust them.
Check Reputable Sources
If you are unsure about where you can start your search for a criminal defense attorney, you can always turn to the internet. However, you have to know how to filter your information and separate credible sources from non-credible ones. Make sure you only check reputable sources, such as those government websites or state bar associations, if you want to learn more about a specific lawyer.
You can also check out law firm websites to know more about the specific areas covered by the firm and the lawyers who may work on your case. Reputable firms will provide extensive information on these things, so make sure to examine your options carefully. Knowing things like how long a lawyer has been in practice, how many cases they have handled, and the like will also be helpful for your decision.
When it comes to hiring an attorney, pricing may be one of your biggest concerns–and rightfully so. The first thing on your mind after finding out that you need to hire an attorney may likely be: how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost? This is important to know from the beginning, so you know how much you have to pay and what you can expect to get from it.
While you want to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find, you also want to be clear about the bill. From the get-go, look for someone who can be clear about the fee structure–how much you have to pay for the services and an estimate for the bill’s total cost. This way, you will not be surprised by any charges halfway through your case.
While more reputable lawyers may charge a higher fee, take note that price is not directly related to a lawyer’s skill. Thus, this should not be your sole consideration in your search. You have to assess the attorney and get an overall impression before deciding on the right candidate.
Read Reviews and Testimonials
When in doubt, you can read reviews from past clients to get to know more about a lawyer. Through testimonials, you can find out about what other clients thought about working with a specific lawyer, whether they would recommend him or her, and the like. Through these reviews, you get a better idea of a lawyer’s skill, qualifications, and competence in the field.
With reviews, however, you also have to learn to take some of the information with a grain of salt. Each person’s experience can vary based on many factors, and every criminal case proceeds differently, so you may end up having a different experience from someone else. Keep an open mind and if you spot a negative comment, try to read it to see what troubles a client may have encountered with a specific criminal defense attorney.
While deciding on an attorney to hire, it will be in your best interest to ask if you are hiring a single attorney or a team of them. Some law firms allow lawyers to collaborate and work as a team to handle cases, particularly those that are more complex and may require the help of more than one professional.
Knowing this from the start allows you to get a better idea of who you can expect to work with while your case is pending. Having a team of lawyers can be particularly beneficial if you have a difficult case since you have access to more expertise and knowledge. Similarly, if you are hiring just one attorney, make sure to check on his or her team to see if they are skilled for the job.
When it comes to criminal charges, you want to make sure you get help from the best attorney out there. It may seem overwhelming, and research may be the last thing on your mind when facing a case, but doing so will pay off and increase your chances of a good and favorable outcome. By taking your time to get to know potential lawyers who can represent you, you can certainly find the best and right one for your case.
To schedule a free initial telephone consultation, contact one of our criminal defense lawyers for help! We accept credit cards.