How to Choose a Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are charged with a crime, you may be facing serious consequences such as hefty fines, jail time, probation, a tainted record, and more. Not having an experienced criminal defense lawyer with a stellar reputation by your side can cost you a lot more than just money.
If you’ve been accused of committing a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, your top priority is to prepare for your next scheduled court date. The best way to do this is by immediately seeking the help of a qualified lawyer with extensive experience in the field of criminal defense law. One of the most important criteria when selecting an attorney for your case is “trust.” But how do you know who to trust?
Follow these legal tips to ensure you choose a good criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively defend your legal rights, negotiate with prosecutors to reduce your charges or minimize your penalties, and ensure your interests are fully protected:
DO pick an attorney that practices criminal law
Whether or not your particular case will be settled through a plea bargain or headed for trial, it is vital to choose an attorney who is knowledgeable in criminal law and is able to try your case in front of a jury. Lawyers who have no experience defending criminal cases won’t have a comprehensive understanding of the rules of evidence, will have difficulty identifying the weaknesses and strengths of your case, and will have little credibility to negotiate a good deal for you.
DO watch out for a lawyer that practices in various areas
A lawyer who practices personal injury law one day, divorce the next, and criminal defense after that lacks the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with the commitment or specialization that your case requires. Only choose attorneys who practice criminal law exclusively.
DO steer clear of lawyers that guarantee a result
If you consult with a lawyer who promises you certain results—particularly before he’s even evaluated your case—immediately cross him/her off your list. Criminal law is complicated and every case is unique. There are no guarantees or simple answers. Any attorney who makes promises to obtain certain results in a criminal law case is not worth your trust.
DO choose a lawyer that can clearly explain your situation and your legal rights
Your lawyer should be able to simply and clearly explain the criminal charges against you, what they entail, your legal rights, what prosecution has to prove, and how evidence can be used against you in court. Your criminal law lawyer should also explain the possible consequences you may face for your charges. And remember, a lawyer should always be direct, honest, and to the point, rather than promising that you will “win your case.”
DON’T bargain shop for a criminal lawyer
While an affordable attorney is a legitimate concern, it should never be the main priority. There are too many things at stake and you need the best attorney who can ensure your rights and interests are fully protected every step of the way. Attitude, compassion, and experience are very important when it comes to choosing a criminal law lawyer.
Many lawyers will quote a flat fee, but this fee is not just for the hours they may work on your case. You are also paying for their skills, experience, and qualifications. Fees are often based on the difficulty of the case and the amount of time the lawyer and staff spend researching and preparing. Expect a larger fee if your case is expected to go to trial.
DON’T be scared to discuss lawyer fees
You have a right to know how much a criminal law lawyer will charge you before deciding to hire him or her. The lawyer should be able to tell you during the initial consultation how much the services will cost you.
DON’T choose a lawyer that can’t answer your questions or address your concerns
Does the lawyer answer all of your questions using language and terms that you can understand? Does he/she return your phone calls and spend time with you going over your case? Are you frequently updated on the circumstances surrounding your case? A good criminal law lawyer should be able to provide you with all of the above services and make you feel relaxed and at ease. If you experience a bad feeling with one lawyer, seek the assistance of another one.
Please click here to speak with a qualified and experienced criminal law lawyer near you.
Find a Lawyer Now
Search for a Criminal Law lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.