Getting an attorney makes a key difference in the outcome of a case. A criminal defense attorney doesn’t just have the knowledge and experience to effectively navigate a case, they can potentially help reduce a sentence or get a case thrown out altogether.
However, not all attorneys are created equal, and it’s imperative to choose a well-equipped attorney who can get the job done. Today, we’re going to share 8 helpful tips to consider when selecting a criminal defense attorney.
1. Experience for the Win
A criminal charge can certainly be stressful. Criminal charges are serious crimes that require help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. For this reason, a criminal defense attorney should have extensive knowledge of criminal cases and be able to guide a defendant with expert legal advice.
With that said, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be one who specializes in criminal law. It’s important to note that not all criminal defense attorneys practice solely in criminal law, but an attorney with a criminal law background is a good sign.
Additionally, a criminal defense attorney experienced in all courts, including municipal, state, federal, and superior is an added bonus. This is because some jurisdictions of the court overlap with one another and it’s possible that a case may be heard in more than one court.
2. Avoid a Public Defender If Possible
Choosing a public defender is tempting for many. Public defenders are free, which means that defendants get to benefit from experienced representation without dealing with the expense of hiring an attorney. But are public defenders necessarily experienced with criminal defense cases? Not likely.
Many public defenders are inexperienced in criminal defense cases. In addition to this, public defenders are known to handle a large number of cases at a time. This means that a public defender will likely have less time to work on a case, won’t be as responsive to questions, and may not provide adequate support throughout the process.
3. Board Certifications
Criminal defense attorneys with board certifications are usually considered the best of the best. Those with a board certificate mean they are proficient in criminal defense. Additionally, these attorneys have a significant number of jury trials under their belt and have built an excellent reputation with the judges and prosecutors.
Connections are important in the legal world. With that said, having a criminal defense attorney who is well-connected locally is something to take note of. Essentially, a criminal defense attorney with local connections will have a better understanding of local procedures.
Not only that, but these attorneys also have first-hand experience with the judges and prosecutors. This means that the attorney will have a better understanding of how the court works. These factors can be influential in the ability to have a winning criminal defense case.
5. Use Reputable Online Sources
The internet is filled with a lot of valuable information, making it easier to find a variety of different criminal defense attorneys. But, it’s essential to stick to online resources that are reputable to get the most qualified list of attorneys.
A good resource to keep in mind is the State Bar Association, which is available for each state. It provides a database of attorneys, which makes it easier to see if an attorney has formal discipline.
Other resources include Google+ and Facebook. While these are social platforms, they don’t allow attorneys to remove bad reviews. This enables individuals to get a more full picture of an attorney and can help them make an informed decision.
6. In-Person Interview
Selecting a criminal defense attorney doesn’t just have to be done online. While researching attorneys through websites and reviews is a highly effective way to choose a good attorney, in-person interviews can create additional certainty.
It’s a good idea to take advantage of any free consultations offered by prospective criminal defense attorneys. This allows an opportunity to build a personal connection, develop a first impression, and ask any important questions to give clarity about a case.
Additionally, it’s also a perfect opportunity to ask a potential criminal defense attorney about their experience, qualifications, and what their process is like when working with clients.
Working on a criminal defense case requires a lot of time and effort, and any time lost in a case could mean a case that is lost already. For this reason, it’s imperative to have a criminal defense attorney who is accessible and ultimately responsive. This is one of the reasons why public defenders are usually avoided in situations, such as criminal defense cases.
The best criminal defense attorney is one who is ready to get started working on the case right away. In addition to this, the attorney needs to be responsive throughout the process. This means responding to questions quickly, following up, and arranging meetings to discuss the case. This level of accessibility ensures that all details of the case are being handled accordingly and that there are no missed opportunities to gain leverage.
Saving money is a priority for most, but saving money shouldn’t be the main goal in a criminal defense case. If an attorney is boasting the lowest fees available, this may be a red flag. Typically, the lower the fees are, the less the client will receive, and this can be harmful to the outcome of the case.
It’s not required to go with an attorney that has the highest fees either, but finding a middle ground is important. When researching criminal defense attorneys, the focus should be more on the skills, experience, and reputable reviews of a potential attorney to help make a decision.
At the same time, it’s a good sign when a criminal defense attorney has a clear fee structure. Any reputable criminal defense attorney will want to be transparent about fees so that potential clients can prepare accordingly. An attorney should share the following information, including:
- How they bill
- Fees for service
- Total cost of defense
Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the best way to fight a case. Want a free case evaluation? Contact us today or call (508)-226-4500