When you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you. Here are some tips for hiring an effective criminal defense attorney.
Tip One: An attorney should be responsive to you.
When you’re facing a criminal charge, time is of the essence. Time lost is a case lost. You need a criminal defense attorney that’s going to get to work on the case right away. Their legal team should be able to arrange a meeting with you within one day. If they’re quick to answer your call or email, they’re probably going to be equally on the ball when it comes to your defense.
Tip Two: The right criminal defense attorney specializes in criminal law
preferably the law area for which you need counsel. If you’re charged with a DUI, you don’t need an attorney specializing in tax law. Although they don’t have to practice criminal law exclusively, the right attorney at least specializes in criminal law. If you don’t see anything on the attorney’s website about criminal law, it’s likely that they’re not the right lawyer for your needs.
Tip Three: Choose someone experienced in the local courts in your area.
In addition to finding a lawyer that’s qualified in criminal law, you should look for an attorney that’s experienced in the local court system, knows the judges, and knows the local prosecutors. This aspect of deciding on the right attorney is one that is often overlooked, but relationships and connections go a long way.
Tip Four: Check reputable sources and ask for referrals.
You can check with your state bar and online sources to see if the attorney has received any disciplinary referrals, and sites such as Google and Facebook might include negative reviews that attorneys can’t remove–which is good. Never trust a site that paints to rosy a picture.
Tip Five: The right lawyer knows the basics off the top of his or her head.
When you ask questions such as those below, they should have good answers that make you feel comfortable and in safe hands. Their fee structure should be clear and unambiguous, and they should be able to reply to you crisply and clearly.
- How long have you been practicing criminal law?
- How often do you appear in the courthouse where my case will be handled?
- Do you frequently negotiate plea agreements with the prosecutors office? How would you describe your relationship with the prosecutors office?
- How often do your clients go to trial?
- How familiar are you with the charges against me? What percentage of your practice is in representing clients with similar charges?