Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a criminal charge, you want to hire a lawyer right away. You need a specialist in criminal defense in view of the fact that it is a highly specialized area of law.
Here are guidelines you can use for initially screening lawyers before narrowing your list to about two or three candidates:
> Check out biographical information, including all that you can find on the websites of the attorneys. Do they have the expertise you need for your specific case?
Services Tips for The Average Joe
> Do an online search for information on the lawyers you’re considering. Have they published any articles, e-books or FAQ’s that somehow increase your level of comfort? Remember to read online reviews to know what their previous clients think of them. This can be a very revealing step.
Getting To The Point – Professionals
> Get in touch with your state bar association or log on to their website to know if the lawyers are in good standing. Find out as well if they are members of associations catering to your needs (for example, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers).
> See if you have any special needs. For instance, would it be best to hire an attorney who can communicate in another language aside from English?
If a lawyer can’t meet with you on short notice, don’t eliminate him immediately. Good lawyers are often busy, so it may be hard for them to free time up for a prospective client.
Criminal defense lawyers will likely charge on a per hour basis or collect a flat fee to be paid upfront. Your state’s professional conduct rules may bar your lawyer from being hired on a contingent fee arrangement with an individual charged with a crime. As rates can be competitive, shopping around would make perfect sense.
Choose a lawyer who has significant experience, specifically in the kind of case you are facing, whether it’s a white collar crime, a drug crime, a traffic offense, and so on. If you’ve been charged with murder, a lawyer who has mostly been defending drug offenders is most likely not for you.
Criminal cases often involve plea agreements entered with the district attorney’s office. This means the lawyer must have a good working relationship with the prosecuting attorney, or is at least a respected figure in the legal scene. Hence, you would like a lawyer who is from time to time visible in the concerned jurisdiction.
Lastly, just before you hire a particular lawyer:
> Seek references from people who can provide feedback regarding the abilities of your prospect, but first make sure they are trustworthy;
> Ask for your own copy of the retainer agreement and have it discussed thoroughly to you; and
> Make sure you’re comfortable with the attorney you hire because this can affect on the strength of your case as you build one together..