How To Choose The Right Criminal Attorney
Looking To Find The Right Criminal Attorney? Read Below..
Selecting the right Criminal Attorney can be one of the most hardest parts of any run-in with the law. There are several things to consider when looking for a Criminal Attorney. Below is some information to help you navigate the process.
1) Get Advice
It’s usually best to talk to a Criminal Attorney as soon as possible after being arrested. If you are facing a criminal charge, no matter how minor, you should seek legal advice. Even if you decide not to hire a Criminal Attorney to represent you in court, a consultation can help you to understand the charges against you. Although your first court date may be a ways out, finding a Criminal Attorney can take some time, and there might be things you can do in the meantime to improve the outlook of your case. For instance, if your case involves drugs or alcohol, an attorney might advise you to get into treatment or start going to 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), even before going to court for the first time.
2) Figure Out If You Need A Criminal Attorney
Your attorney should explain the defenses available to you, any possibilities for a plea bargain, and what your next steps would be if you were convicted.
- If you are facing a serious charge, it is highly recommended that you have a defense attorney represent you in court.
- For a minor charge, you can consider simply consulting an attorney before your trial.
- To determine how serious the charge is, learn what sort of charge you are facing. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Murder and armed robbery are examples of felonies.
- A misdemeanor is a less serious charge. Shoplifting is a common example.
- Infractions are the least serious charge. Examples include traffic violations.
3) Understand The Difference Between A Civil Attorney & A Criminal Attorney
Criminal defense attorneys are the attorneys that represent people charged with criminal conduct or have had a lawsuit filed against them. Most attorneys specialize in either criminal or civil law. Civil cases are typically brought by an individual or company, while criminal charges are brought by local, state, or federal government.
- Defense attorneys will help you with all legal issues related to your case. For example, he will identify key pretrial issues.
- Your defense attorney will issue motions that can improve your situation or possibly get your case dismissed.
- If your case goes to trial, your defense attorney is responsible for representing you in court. His objective should be to see that you receive a fair trial with a positive outcome for you.
4) Decide What Type Of Criminal Attorney You Need
You will need to determine if you need a state or federal attorney. The two court systems follow different laws and procedures. If you have broken a state law, hire a Criminal attorney that specializes in state law. State law cases include traffic violations, broken contracts, robberies, and family disputes, among others. Federal cases include, but are not limited to, cases involving violation of the US Constitution, cases in which the United States is a party, bankruptcy cases, copyright cases, and patent cases.
- If you are being charged with breaking a federal law, you will want to hire a more experienced defense attorney who will be able to dedicate a large amount of time to your case. This is because cases that involve federal law are often more complex.
- The key difference between breaking state and federal laws is that when you break a federal law, you are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office. A prosecutor from this office has more time and resources to dedicate to prosecuting the case.
5) Look For An EXPERIENCED Criminal Attorney
If you are charged with a crime that could cause you to have a criminal record, you need someone who is an experienced legal expert. A Criminal Attorney who focuses on criminal defense is more likely to be up to date on criminal law and familiar with how things run in criminal courts. The number of years a Criminal Attorney has been practicing criminal defense is an important consideration. But keep in mind, lots of experience doesn’t always equate to quality representation.
You should try to find a Criminal Attorney who has represented defendants charged with the same or very similar offenses. Modern criminal law is so complex that many lawyers specialize in particular types of offenses. For example, one may specialize in drunk driving, another in drug offenses, and another in white-collar crimes (generally referring to nonviolent, money-related crimes, such as tax fraud or embezzlement). Chances are you’re going to want to go with a Criminal Attorney who is familiar with the type of case you have. It is perfectly appropriate for a defendant to inquire during the initial consultation about the attorney’s experience. A defendant should not hire a lawyer who refuses to specifically discuss her experience or gives vague, unrevealing answers.
6) Free Consultations
It is best to have a face to face conference to determine if you feel comfortable with the Criminal Attorney. Most Criminal Attorneys offer prospective clients a free initial consultation. You should schedule consultations with more than one attorney to make sure you are selecting the best one for you. Remember that a consultation is not a binding agreement.
- Taking advantage of this opportunity to meet the Criminal Attorney and get some of your questions answered doesn’t obligate you to hire the Criminal Attorney. If you feel that there is something disagreeable about the attorney, you do not need to proceed with that specific attorney. There is nothing wrong with consulting with an attorney and then choosing not to hire him to represent you.
- Put your best foot forward. You want to impress the attorney, just as much as you want him to impress you. You both need to want to work together.
- You should come to your consultation prepared—bring all your case-related paperwork and a list of the questions you want to ask. This will help you make sure to get all of the information that you need. Ask about fees / payment schedules, trial strategies, alternatives, how quickly they can get started & what information they need.
7) Be Cautious
Don’t be drawn in by flashy marketing schemes or blanket statements that assure success. Be suspicious of any Criminal Attorney who guarantees you a specific result in a criminal case before making a court appearance and before reviewing all the documents and evidence. No attorney should make promises before the case truly begins.
- Ask to examine a sample contract before signing with a Criminal Attorney.
- Be wary of Criminal Attorneys who want a large amount of money up front to handle a case only through initial proceedings and not through jury trial. The lawyer should be honest about the likely outcomes of your case and should never make promises about guaranteed outcomes.
8) Qualities Important to You
Good qualities to look for in a Criminal Attorney include excellent communication skills, which will help him better argue your case. It might also be important to you to hire a Criminal Attorney with a good track record. A defendant’s Criminal Attorney speaks for the defendant. No matter how highly recommended a Criminal Attorney may be, it is also important that the Criminal Attorney be someone with whom the defendant is personally comfortable. The best attorney-client relationships are those in which clients are full partners in the decision-making process, and defendants should try to hire lawyers who see them as partners, not as case files.
Thus, defendants should ask themselves questions such as these when considering whether to hire a Criminal Attorney:
- “Does the Criminal Attorney seem to be someone I can work with and talk openly to?”
- “Does the Criminal Attorney explain things in a way that I can understand?”
- “Does the Criminal Attorney show personal concern and a genuine desire to want to help?”
- “Do the Criminal Attorney’s concerns extend to my overall personal situation, rather than just the crime with which I’m charged?”
- “Does the Criminal Attorney appear to be a person who will engender trust in prosecutors, judges, and, if necessary, jurors?”
9) Calculate The Cost Of Hiring A Criminal Attorney
The cost of a Criminal Attorney is generally based on how complex a case is. Attorneys will typically ask for a retainer (payment) when the defense will most likely require the bringing in of expert witnesses or if there will be extensive motions made. Attorneys have a number of ways of charging for their work. These include flat fees, hourly rates and fees for specific parts of the case.
- Hourly rates can be the most affordable, but are also the least predictable. It is difficult to predict precisely how much time your case will take. A Criminal Attorney who charges an hourly rate bills for the actual time spent working on the case.
- Flat fees (most common in criminal cases) is where you pay a set amount for your case, regardless of how many hours of work it takes. Flat fees can hurt the client in cases that are complicated. Many Criminal attorneys will offer a fee agreement that offers a refundable minimum retainer but then goes up as the case goes past that amount.
- Sometimes attorneys do a pretrial flat fee but there’s an additional fee if the case goes to trial. It’s also a good plan to ask about whether the Criminal Attorney anticipates any other costs such as expert witnesses or investigations.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime – regardless of how serious – it’s a good idea to talk to a Criminal Attorney, even for advice. Don’t delay, Call Kenney Legal Defense at (855) 505-5588 for help.
~ Content by Webvisable