When selecting a criminal defense lawyer there are a few essential things everyone should keep in mind. The first part in selecting the right criminal defense attorney is determining your legal needs, part two consists of choosing a defense attorney and what traits to look for, and part three is how to get the most out of your initial consultation.
● Are you facing minor or serious charges? If you are facing criminal charges, regardless of how minor it may be. It is crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified professional. Some of the criminal defense attorneys at Lawyer Legion’s Criminal Defense Directory offer free consultation which will give you the opportunity to have your case reviewed and understand your legal options.
● Understanding how your criminal defense attorney can help you is important and knowing their specialization. Most attorneys specialized in either criminal or civil law. If your suit was brought by an individual or company it is a civil case, while criminal charges are brought by the state, local, or federal government. Additionally, some criminal defense lawyers concentrate on particular practice areas such as violent crime defenses.
● Do you need a federal or state criminal defense attorney? Knowing whether you need a state or federal lawyer is vital. If you are facing state charges, then hiring an attorney that specializes in the laws of that specific state is beneficial. However, if you are facing federal charges it is crucial that you retain an experienced defense attorney who can dedicate the time and resources your case needs.
● What qualities should you look for in a criminal defense attorney depends entirely on what is important to you. Good qualities to take into consideration when choosing the right criminal defense lawyer are:
○ Their availability
○ Their work ethics – Is the attorney staying in communication with you? How available will they be to answer your questions and concerns? How quickly can you expect the attorney to get back to you?
○ Excellent communication skills
● Professional traits to take into consideration are:
○ His or Her experience in your type of criminal offense (e.g., drug crimes, probation violations, etc.)
○ Good record of successful cases
○ How good are their analytical skills
● Is the lawyer member of any associations or professional organizations? An attorney who is a member of a criminal defense professional organization has likely attended continuing legal education seminars and has access to resources and publications that keep him or her up to date on current criminal law and procedures.
● When selecting an attorney use our directory of criminal defense lawyers to find an attorney near you who can guide you and adequately represent you. Lawyer Legion's online criminal defense attorney directory includes various attorneys who are ranked based on their practice areas.
● Compile a list of three (3) or four (4) attorneys that you may want to arrange a consultation with. Some attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss the facts surrounding your case. Also, you want to keep a list of three (3) to four (4) lawyers to meet with because it will provide some variety and you will not feel overwhelmed.
During your initial consultation, there are also other qualities you should be attentive to. The relationship between you and your lawyer is a commitment and takes time to develop. Therefore, it is important to have a solid foundation and a good partnership early. An initial consultation provides you with the opportunity to decide how confident you feel about the attorney’s experience, skills, and analysis of your case. Be sure to schedule a consultation with more than one criminal defense lawyer to make sure the attorney that is representing you is the right for you.
● A consultation is not a binding contract.Therefore, if you have consulted with an attorney but chose not to hire him or her to represent you, there is nothing wrong with that. Making sure you find an attorney that is best for you is essential and consultation helps you learn information about your case as well as your potential criminal defense lawyer.
● Making a good impression on your attorney is important. Working with a lawyer is a commitment and requires a good partnership. Make sure that you are prepared and take with you paperwork related to the facts of your case (e.g., documents issued by the court), have a list of questions such as:
○ What are the fees and payment plans?
○ What trial strategies do you have planned?
○ How can I help my case?
○ What past experience do you have handling my type of case?
● Knowing who is working on your case, what their experience level is, and how much time your attorney will be dedicated to your case. Ask your attorney about his or her staff. Determining who are the members of your legal team during the initial consultation helps you find out how experienced they are, what would happen if your criminal defense attorney becomes ill and much more.
Communication during this partnership is essential. Make sure that you feel comfortable and when discussing the facts of your case the more information you provide to the criminal defense lawyer, the more accurate the attorney can provide you with legal resources based on your legal needs.