Tips to Help You Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
When you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s important that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. A great criminal defense attorney can help you mitigate damage or beat the charges entirely—but if you choose the wrong lawyer, you may not get the same type of results. Here’s how to choose the right lawyer for your case:
- Find a local criminal defense attorney: When searching for attorneys, the first and most important two factors are that they’re local and they practice criminal law. You might find a great lawyer, but if they only litigate civil cases, they won’t be able to help. If you have peers who have used a criminal defense attorney before, ask for a referral. Otherwise, your State Bar Association will usually be able to provide recommendations.
- Look for someone with a great reputation: Once you’ve come up with a few attorney names, do your research. You want a lawyer who has a great reputation in the legal community—someone who is committed to their clients and gets good results. The last thing you want is to hire a lawyer who angers judges and juries.
- Choose someone who is communicative: Being charged in a criminal case is scary—and if it’s your first time, you’ll probably want a little hand-holding. Many people get their knowledge of criminal cases from police procedurals and law-related TV shows. These programs can be entertaining, but they can skew your sense of how a case proceeds—and how long they actually take. Ask potential attorneys how often they communicate with their clients, whether you can call with questions and how they like to keep you updated on the case’s progress. Choose the right lawyer by looking for one who seems communicative and responsive. After all, it’s your freedom at stake.
- Find a fee structure you can afford: Criminal defense lawyers may have different fee structures, depending on what kind of case you have. Some offer flat fees. Some will ask for a retainer and bill hourly. Whichever attorney you choose, make sure you understand their rates, how much you’ll pay, when and how. You don’t want any surprises while your case is in progress—or after it’s all said and done.
- Look for someone who has courtroom experience: Even if you settle your case with a plea deal, courtroom experience is extremely important for criminal defense lawyers. There are multiple hearings and procedures (from arraignments and pre-trial motions to the preliminary hearing and trial) over the length of your case. You want someone who is confident and trustworthy in court.
- Choose an attorney who makes you feel comfortable: Finally, choose an attorney who makes you feel good. This includes their opinion of your case, their general competence, their responsiveness and their demeanor. Their job is to advocate for you, and part of that is making you feel confident in the quality of their work.
If you’re in need of a criminal defense lawyer, we can help. Call Maynard & Joyce, LLC today to schedule a consultation.