The first thing defendants facing criminal charges should do is look for legal representation. It can be hard to choose an attorney, but this decision can dramatically impact the defendant’s outcome so take some time to learn what to look for. Read on to find out how to choose the right defense attorney.
The Right Experience
Criminal defense attorneys handle everything from minor misdemeanors to felony charges. It’s important to find one who has experience working with clients who faced similar charges. Defendants should concentrate on evaluating not just the lawyer’s skill level, but also his or her level of expertise and knowledge regarding the specific crime in question.
The Right Team
Most defense attorneys don’t do 100% of the groundwork in preparing their cases. They work with other lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and others to gather evidence and put together an effective defense. Find out who will be working on the case and ask about their qualifications.
The Right Reviews
It’s perfectly fine to ask family members and friends about their experiences working with a particular law office or attorney. If nobody in their social circles has faced similar charges, defendants can also turn to the internet for advice. Check out the attorney’s website, read some testimonials, and do some research by reading through reviews on third-party sites.
The Right Questions
Before choosing a lawyer, schedule an initial consultation. Ask about the attorney’s experience with similar cases, his or her trial experience, how often they work out plea agreements, how the law office calculates fees, and whether it will be possible to set up a payment plan. The answers to these questions should give potential clients an idea of what to expect and whether or not they can afford it.
A Note About Fees
Some law offices bill by the hour, while others set up flat fee arrangements. The amount of money that defendants can expect to pay will depend on the attorney’s experience and reputation, the geographical location, and other factors. Don’t just choose the attorney that offers the lowest fees. Instead, defendants should balance costs with the expected level of service to choose the best lawyer they can afford.