Criminal charges can be a delicate matter. One wrong step and you could end up losing your freedom or facing some other devastating consequences. However, no matter how bleak the situation looks, a good criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.
Your attorney can be the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Knowing how important this is, it’s okay to wonder what to look out for when searching for a criminal defense lawyer.
In this article, our experienced attorneys explain what you should know when prospecting for a criminal defense attorney and tips to make the best hire possible.
TIPS FOR HIRING A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
The first thing to do when arrested and facing criminal charges is to get a good criminal defense attorney. It’ll go a long way in tipping the scale in your favor.
However, before hiring an attorney, you should take special care to hire one best-suited to handle your case. So, here are a few tips that can help you find such an attorney.
#1. FIND OUT HOW RESPONSIVE THE ATTORNEY IS
One of the first things to consider before deciding on an attorney is their responsiveness. A good criminal defense attorney should respond quickly when you reach out to them. They should be able to arrange a meeting with you within a day after you contact them.
This goes to show you how serious an attorney is about handling your case. It tells you their level of commitment and how much you can rely on them in emergencies.
#2. FIND OUT THE ATTORNEY’S AREA OF SPECIALIZATION
Many attorneys engage in the general practice of law. The problem with this is that these general attorneys usually lack the depth of experience and expertise that comes with specializing in one area. As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
As such, before hiring an attorney to represent you in a criminal matter, you should ensure that they specialize in criminal law. You can determine this by the number of criminal cases they have handled and their success rate in such cases.
#3. HIRE A LAWYER THAT UNDERSTANDS THE PROCEDURES OF THE LOCAL COURTS
Every court has guidelines and processes that attorneys coming before it must abide by. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the attorney you hire is familiar with these procedures as it applies to the relevant court.
The lawyer’s familiarity with the local judges would also come in handy during the trial.
#4. CHECK REVIEWS
This is a significant area to consider when trying to hire an excellent criminal defense lawyer.
You can learn quite a lot about an attorney through the reviews on the internet. However, you should be careful because some sources are reputable while some are not. You should check reputable third-party sites like Yelp, Google Review, and Better Business Bureau for unbiased reviews.
Going through these reviews lets, you know what to expect from a lawyer. However, you shouldn’t rule out an attorney because of one or two bad reviews.
When trying to decide on an attorney to hire, you could ask friends, neighbors, or family members for referrals. And if you have a lawyer that handles other matters, you can ask them to refer you to a good criminal lawyer.
This would help save you some time in your search for the right lawyer.
#6. GET AN ATTORNEY THAT HAS ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CRIMINAL LAW
You may likely not bother about this area because you might feel that an attorney should understand the basics of criminal law. Well, you can’t be too careful.
You should ensure that the attorney you are hiring knows the criminal law like the back of their hands. This doesn’t mean that they must know everything about the law. However, after years of experience in the field, they should be very familiar with the basics.
As such, a good criminal defense lawyer should be able to work their way through most areas of criminal law comfortably. Also, they should be able to state the reasons behind your charges and the processes of the charges.
Most importantly, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will know the right questions to ask. These questions will help produce information that will be useful during the trial process. Furthermore, the attorney should be able to explain the likely outcomes and penalties for your case to you.
#7. ASK THE ATTORNEY ABOUT THEIR FEE STRUCTURE
Some attorneys will try to extort you by covering some charges by using vague terms. A trustworthy criminal defense lawyer won’t try to act shady regarding their charges.
To avoid hidden charges, it is vital that you draw up a contract when hiring a criminal defense lawyer. This contract must clearly state the terms you are agreeing to at the beginning of the case.
Also, it is crucial to be cautious of strange pricing. This can be a price that is too low or high. If a lawyer offers you their service for a ridiculously low price, it may mean one of two things.
It can mean that the defense attorney you are hiring has a bad reputation. Otherwise, it could be that they would bring up hidden charges later on in the case. Both of these scenarios are not in your best interest.
At the same time, you should also be skeptical of criminal defense lawyers that charge a high fee for their services. This is because a lawyer may charge a high price due to their popularity and not necessarily their success rate. Even if you are paying a high fee, you need to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.
#8. ASK FOR REFERENCES
Always ask a lawyer for references before you go on to hire them. They should be able to provide at least three references of past clients whose cases were similar to yours.
Once you get those references, make sure to contact them. When you do, ask them what their experience was like working with the lawyer.
#9. GET A LAWYER THAT IS CONFIDENT IN THE COURTROOM
The lawyer you plan to hire must be confident in their skill. A lawyer that is confident in their ability will be quite persuasive in the courtroom. If your lawyer does not project confidence, they won’t be able to convince the jury about your innocence.
For a lawyer to project confidence, they need experience. If you hire an experienced attorney, you’ll notice how they carry out their duties with confidence.
You can judge a lawyer’s confidence based on the first impression they leave. A confident lawyer will display their confidence through their composure when meeting with you for the first time. They’ll greet you with a firm handshake, maintain eye contact, and have a good posture during consultation.
#10. GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Criminal cases can be intricate at times. That’s why you must hire an attorney that creates an atmosphere that enables you to communicate freely with them. A good criminal attorney will pay rapt attention to everything you have to say. They will ensure that they get all the details concerning your case to handle it properly.
Also, a good attorney would ensure they are easily accessible. When you contact an attorney on the phone, they should give you their email address and other means of communicating with them. This will ensure that you are always in touch with the attorney during every step of the legal process.
CONTACT SARA JONES LAW, P.A.
Searching for the right criminal defense attorney is worth your time and effort. This is because there’s a lot at stake when you’re facing criminal charges. Your reputation and freedom are what’s on the line. Therefore, you need someone who will defend you and provide the best possible outcome.
At Sara Jones Law, we have competent and experienced criminal defense attorneys that are well suited to defend you in court. Our lawyers are not only well versed in criminal law, but they’re also passionate about protecting the rights of our clients. Contact us today and let us work to turn the tides in your favor.