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Posted on September 14, 2020 in Criminal Defense

Five Tips to Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can have a life-altering outcome. Having a criminal defense attorney that you trust and know will fight to protect your rights is essential. Hiring an attorney for a criminal case can seem daunting and time-consuming, but it is hardly the time to roll the dice with just any lawyer.

If you are feeling overwhelmed while trying to find a lawyer, there are a number of steps you can take to narrow down your search and make it more time-efficient. Generally, criminal lawyers should exhibit tell-tale signs that will signal whether or not they are experienced enough to handle your case. When seeking a criminal lawyer, it is important to weigh your options by following the steps below.

1. Find Someone Specialized in Criminal Law

Many lawyers, such as trial lawyers, are trained in several areas of the law, including criminal law. If you find yourself in dire straits, choosing an attorney who specializes almost exclusively in criminal law can better your chances of winning your case.

It is also helpful to seek out an attorney who is well-versed in your case’s specific laws. For instance, let’s say you’re facing charges for domestic violence. That’s an area of law that’s complicated and subject to very specific rules. In turn, you might want to hire an attorney who focuses exclusively on cases like the one you face.

An attorney specialized in criminal law will also know the importance of being responsive and punctual. If an attorney keeps you waiting after you attempt to contact them, it is generally not a good sign. Lack of prompt response could mean the attorney is inexperienced or already drowning in case files.

As laws in any sector are subject to change regularly, hiring a specialized criminal defense lawyer will ensure that you are abreast of any changes or nuances in the law that could affect your case.

2. Choose An Experienced Attorney

There can be a lot to lose in a criminal defense case, especially if it is related to violent crime. Choosing someone experienced is the best way to yield positive results. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to provide you with references and results from cases they have fought in the past. You should be able to find testimonies from past clients on the lawyer’s website.

Choosing someone who has experience navigating your local courts can also be an advantage. A lawyer who has handled cases in your local court system will likely have useful connections and be familiar with other local attorneys and judges involved in your case.

Hiring a lawyer from outside your local courts can be risky, as each court has its own way of proceeding with cases. An experienced local lawyer will have the upper hand in knowing the idiosyncrasies of your local courts and judges.

It is also helpful to seek out a lawyer who has experience fighting cases similar to yours. A lawyer can have hundreds of case wins, but if none of them bear any similarities to your situation, hiring said lawyer could be a gamble.

3. Ask for Referrals and Check References

If you are looking for basic information about a lawyer, checking their website is a good place to start. If they are a reputable lawyer, their website will clearly outline the services they provide, so you will know within a few minutes if they can help you.

Additionally, consulting your peers about lawyers they have used in the past can help steer you in the right direction. First-hand experience and word-of-mouth endorsements can often say much more about a lawyer than a brief web search.

Finding out how a certain lawyer operates from someone you trust can help you decide whether you even want to pursue contacting that lawyer. Like judges, each lawyer has a specific way of doing things that suits them best. However, their methods may not be the best fit for you.

For even further information, you can check your local state bar website to see if the lawyer has a record of formal discipline. You can also check reviews on platforms like Facebook and Google, but proceed with caution. Anyone can post a review on the internet, and they may have biased reasons for posting something negative.

4. Avoid Smoke and Mirrors

A good attorney will be upfront with you about things like price and the likelihood that your case will have a positive outcome. They will be able to provide you with legal information in layman’s terms so that you are clear on how the case will proceed.

If you feel an attorney is being deliberately withholding or is attempting to confuse you or obscure information, you should seek out another option. A good attorney will also clearly outline the fee structure of your case. There should be no confusion about how much you will have to pay when all is said and done.

An experienced attorney will be able to answer any questions you have in simple terms and without hesitation. No attorney knows the minutiae of every facet of the law by heart, but your attorney should be comfortable with the basics of criminal law. Conversely, your attorney should know which questions to ask you to gain perspective on your case.

5. Trust Your Instincts

A mishandled criminal law case can have devastating effects. Choosing the best criminal defense attorney will depend on your case’s specifics and whether you feel the attorney is a good match for you personally.

If you have any reservations about hiring a specific attorney, make them known. Better yet, exhaust all your options if you are unsure about which attorney to hire. Your attorney should also be enthusiastic and positive about your case. That is not to say that they should sugarcoat the truth, but if they generally seem uninterested or detached, it might be a red flag.