If you are charged with a crime, you probably need an attorney. Here are some of the essential attributes to consider and decide whether the criminal defense attorney fits your case.
The more serious the crime, the more careful you must choose. For example, if you are charged with felony murder, then you want an attorney with more than 10-15 years experience, you want an attorney who has litigated murder cases before, and you want an attorney who only practices criminal law. If you are charged with a drinking and driving offense, a generalist is fine and probably less expensive.
Being charged with a criminal offense is a serious matter, that should be kept private. You should not discuss the matter with your friends, and choose very carefully who you will confide in – if anyone. When you speak to your attorney, be careful what you say and do not say. Your attorney will guide you carefully in the conversation. If your attorney wants details about a particular aspect of the incident, give precise detail. If your attorney tells you that details are ot wanted – do not give them. While your attorney cannot disclose any information told in confidence, an attorney cannot stand by and allow the client to testify falsely under oath. There are things your attorney may not want to be communicated for that reason.
3. Negotiation Skills
It is critical that the criminal defense attorney you choose has strong intuitive negotiating skills. You can judge negotiating skills by paying attention to whether your attorney listens carefully to what you are saying.
Command of the facts, as well as of the law is a basic necessity before an attorney can do the best job resolving your criminal matter. Every aspect should be considered. If there are witnesses, they should be spoken to. Discovery from the State should be aggressively pursued, and when received, should be thoroughly reviewed and discussed with you. It takes perseverance.
A criminal defense attorney has to be aggressive. This does not mean being loud and pushy, or being a “shock jock”. Prosecutors are aggressive. They have the power of the State behind them. They know the judges. Often, they practiced with the judges as so many judges are former prosecutors. Your attorney must stand up to the prosecutors and threats of the State. “Standing up to” prosecutors have to do with being prepared. It is not the only a command of the facts and law that are necessary but also knowing the range of potential for outcomes. The standard for a criminal conviction is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This is a daunting standard – and can be effectively used against the State when negotiating with prosecutors.
6. Communication Skills
Pay attention when you meet with your criminal law attorney. Does the attorney listen to what you are saying? Does the attorney ask you relevant questions? Does the attorney give you the information in a way that you understand? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then you need a different attorney.
You need to select a defense lawyer who is committed and take about the outcome of the case. Does your attorney communicate with you?
Criminal lawyers must have integrity. Your lawyer should have open and sincere conversations with you about what the possible outcome of your case will be. Of course, your attorney can not predict the outcome. Certainty is not possible in any legal proceeding.
You need to select a lawyer who is experienced in handling criminal cases. Experience is one of an attorney’s greatest assets. Make certain your attorney has experience.
10. Ratings And Reviews
Check your attorney’s Google and Yelp reviews online.
When choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney, you must check the lawyer possesses the above qualities. Ensure that the lawyer is certified and is dedicated to securing your rights.
At Paré & Associates, LLC (formerly Law Office of Alice Paré, we have been helping clients in Germantown, Gaithersburg, and throughout Montgomery County for more than thirty (30) years. We know what the court will consider and what actions you can take and are here to help you through this difficult time.
Our attorneys are available to meet with you in person, over the phone, or online – however, you prefer.