Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you have never had any dealings with the criminal justice system. Lawyers are taught to be convincing and unfortunately, some lawyers are corrupt. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is especially frustrating because not only is it expensive, but your freedom is at stake.
Here are criminal defense lawyer hiring tips that might help you.
Experience: Make sure that the lawyer you are hiring has extensive criminal law experience, including trial experience. Years of experience working on criminal cases is not the same as courtroom experience defending people with charges similar to yours. It’s always important to hire an attorney that specializes in your charges. An attorney without experience has very little chances of winning a case.
Trust your feelings: It’s always important to hire an attorney that you feel comfortable with and have confidence in. You need to hire someone that will act as your advisor, explaining your options and allowing you to choose. If your attorney makes you uncomfortable or forces you into making a decision, find someone else. Ask the prospective attorney questions that will help you the kind of person that they are. Questions such as what made them decide to be a criminal defense lawyer?
Check references: A good attorney will have a reputation to match. Ask your friends and loved ones which lawyers they recommend. Even the most reputable attorneys have a few unhappy clients, but you want a lawyer with more good recommendations than bad. The best lawyer is always preceded by his/her reputation.
Look for an ethical criminal defense lawyer: If you meet with a lawyer and they start telling you things like “the prosecutor and I are best friends” or “I play tennis with the judge” be wary. Statements like these usually have some hidden meanings. They usually mean that they have the power to make the prosecutor or judge do something that they are not supposed to do. If you meet such a lawyer, you should consider if his/her loyalties will be to you or to maintaining the relationship that he/she claims to have with the prosecutor or judge.
Get a written contract: It’s always wise to insist on having a written contract. Make sure that your agreement addresses the money you will have to pay down and the total amount that your case is going to cost you. Many times clients will pay lawyers all the money they have and after the preliminary hearing, the lawyer will tell them if they do not receive more money they are getting off the case. Make sure that your agreement addresses this issue properly. It’s also important to get a receipt or pay with a check.
Finding the best criminal defense attorney may be the most important decision you will make during the course of your criminal case. Make sure that you hire a lawyer with experience, courtroom expertise and has a good record of winning cases that are similar to yours. Do not trust your case to anyone; hire a criminal lawyer that possesses the right qualities to represent you.