If you find yourself in a position where you might be facing criminal charges, it can surely be a scary and trying time. This is especially true if it’s your very first time making your way through the criminal justice system. The average person has very little knowledge of the process or the laws that govern how they should be treated. They have the right, but often lack the ability to defend themselves. Someone in this situation would need to find help to guide them through it.
This type of guidance is often in the form of an experienced defense attorney. They would have the expertise and understanding of the law. This decision, and choosing the right lawyer to defend yourself, might just be one of the biggest decisions you make. They will be your biggest ally, helping you to craft your defense. Without that help, you could find yourself in a world of trouble.
So, how do we find the right attorney to represent us and our interests in a court of law? Let’s take a look at several factors you should consider.
1) Are They Experienced?
Not all lawyers are the same. Many are molded to be experts in certain aspects of the law. Not every attorney you meet is a defense lawyer, much less having the right amount of experience to represent you. You should also consider the type of crime you are being charged with. Are they an expert with years of experience trying cases? Have they worked with people before charged with similar crimes? Don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure the person who represents you is right for the occasion and knows what they’re doing.
2) How Often Do They Go to Trial?
The frequency in which your lawyer goes to court dealing with the same type of charges against you matters. They must be familiar with the law in that area so they can help put together a powerful defense. Even if the prosecution believes they have an open and shut case against you, their understanding of the law can make the difference. You might not want to hire someone fresh out of law school, but then you’d have to consider costs as well.
3) Who Are They Working With?
There are different types of attorneys. You might find a small-town guy who has his own name on the door and does all the work. He would be the main lawyer you work with and would get more face time. On the other hand, if you go for someone at a larger firm, they most likely have a full staff of paralegals, researchers, other lawyers, and more. Both have their advantages. Working with a solo lawyer isn’t necessarily a disadvantage over going with the larger firm. You’d just have to choose what better fits what you need.
4) Find References Where Available
You should definitely put more time and research into finding the right attorney for you than you put into ordering something on Amazon. Before you buy, do you look at all the reviews to see how good the product is? The same is true before hiring a lawyer. Surely, if you’re looking for someone experienced, they have plenty of previous clients willing to recommend them or have even given a positive review of their service online.
5) Are They Confident?
When chatting with various lawyers, you should keep a sharp eye on how confident they appear. An experienced lawyer has been around the block a time or two. This isn’t their first rodeo testing the legal system. They might even already be able to tell you what the outcome might be and whether you should attempt to negotiate a plea bargain. You don’t want someone so confident they make false promises, either. To understand how confident and honest they are, ask them what they think about your case. A good lawyer to consider will be real and not try to sell you a bill of goods.
6) Look at Costs
You might want to hire the big-time lawyer with the high-rise office and huge staff to assist them, but you’ll also be paying a premium for their services. You might find hiring a more modest attorney, even one right out of law school, is more cost-effective for you. That’s why getting a full rundown of their fees and costs. Many charge by the hour and others will ask for a one-time fee. With criminal cases, a flat fee is the most common, but it depends on the lawyer and their experience.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’re fully entitled to a defense. Choosing the right lawyer to represent you can take a bit of work, but it’s fully worth it in the end, especially if they can help you win. Don’t fall for the tricks many might use to retain you, like promising you’ll be found “not guilty”.