How To Find A Criminal Lawyer
Those found guilty of a criminal offense face potential jail time, significant fines, and even the forfeit of property, including vehicles and other valuable possessions. In order to assure that you will receive the best defense and personal outcome, you’ll need a criminal defense lawyer with court experience, litigation success, expert knowledge of the law, and a passion for what they do.
There are several methods to tracking down a great criminal lawyer, including the yellow pages, online search engines, and the recommendations of friends and colleagues whom you trust. In virtually all cases, you should meet with a variety of lawyers in order to better determine which is right for you and your case. Most lawyers will provide prospective clients with a free initial consultation, during which they expect you to ask questions about their experience and credentials, and how they can help your case. Following are several important points that you should bring up during each consultation, before choosing a criminal defense lawyer.
- How many years of experience in criminal defense?
- Ask how long they have been representing persons accused of crime to get a better understanding of their usable experience.
- How many of those years were you specialized in criminal defense of serious charges?
- You’re looking for someone with practical experience in criminal defenses, obtaining reduced charges, and courtroom experience.
- What is your track record for reduced or dropped charges?
- You’d prefer not to go to court for your charges, and a DUI lawyer with a history of reduced or dropped charges will be in your favor.
- What percentage of your past cases have gone to trial?
- If you do end up in court, you want your lawyer to have experience defending cases in a courtroom.
- What is your ratio of criminally guilty to not guilty verdicts?
- Although a lawyer with an excellent record of ‘not guilty’ verdicts may mean nothing to your individual case, it does bode well to work with a lawyer with a mostly positive track record.
- How many cases have you handled like mine?
- It is preferable that a lawyer has handled cases similar to yours, though keep in mind that each situation is different, and it is possible that a lawyer has not handled a case like yours.
- What key concerns do you have for my specific situation?
- You’ll want to know what reservations your lawyer has for your case before you hire them, so that you will have a better idea of what factors could affect your verdict and how you approach your defense.
- What do you think the outcome of this case will be
- While you most likely won’t get a guaranteed answer of a specific outcome, an experienced criminal lawyer should be able to offer you an idea of what to expect.
- Who will be handling my case, and how will they communicate with me?
- You should meet with the people from your chosen lawyer’s team who will be working on your case, and ask about their experience in preparing and defending criminal charges. You should also know who will be the primary source of communication, and how often you can expect to hear from them, as well as how often you should expect to hear directly from your lawyer.
- What is the potential cost?
- Depending on the complexity of your case, you could be looking at a handsome fee; more so if your case is taken to court. Your lawyer should be able to provide you with a reasonably estimated cost, given your circumstances. You should be wary of a lawyer who quotes you lower than other criminal defense lawyers you’ve met with, which is why it’s so important to meet with several before making a decision.
There must be honesty from both sides of your criminal defense team, right from the start. You should answer all questions brought up by the lawyer regarding your situation and circumstances leading up to and following your arrest, as honestly as possible. Remember, what you tell the lawyer is protected by lawyer-client privilege, making it ineligible to be used against you in court. And something that you leave out or fudge the details of to your lawyer could blindside you in court, possibly even costing you your case.