You’ve seen them on TV in their black coats; the formidable forces of law, the strong and intense breed of professionals called criminal defense attorneys. Of course, going by the drama that plays itself out on TV, you would be forgiven if you thought that defense attorneys are always saving people involved in some bloodcurdling crime or the other. In real life however, that is not entirely true. In fact, a criminal defense attorney is a lawyer who represents any person accused by the law. Crimes may vary from kidnapping, murder and weapons trafficking to the more complex misdeeds like wire fraud, investment or bank frauds, counterfeiting and money laundering.
A good criminal defense attorney is one who has full knowledge of the law pertaining to the state he represents and has enough experience working with the federal criminal system. To begin with, the attorney sets out on a fact finding mission. Their first job is to collect as much information as possible, from the client and through various investigative agencies, if necessary. The client and his attorney form a team and for this team to work efficiently, the client has to repose complete faith in their attorney.
Many people who need the services of a criminal defense attorney make mistakes while hiring somebody for the job. Which is not surprising, considering that the need is urgent and there is little time to go through an elaborate selection procedure. However, there are certain ways in which you can ensure that you enlist the right criminal defense attorney:
- Contact an attorney you have already worked with and ask them for recommendations or references.
- Do not rush to hire someone you have worked with in the past. Before you hire an attorney you have worked with in the past, find out whether they are criminal lawyers. A lawyer who may have handled your divorce need not make a good criminal attorney.
- Before hiring, make sure that the lawyer can handle the type of case you are involved in. Generally, not all criminal defense lawyers handle all kinds of criminal cases. In this context, it is better to approach a firm of lawyers, since they are more likely to have team members with the necessary expertise.
- Many states have their own laws. Enlist the services of a lawyer who is an expert in your state.
- If you are not hard pressed for time, visit at least a couple of lawyers before choosing. Stay away from lawyers who push you into a particular course of action. Hire a person whose approach is similar to yours.
• Don’t be taken in by previous records of the lawyer you have chosen. A couple of wins in the past does not mean that he or she can win your case for you.
Choosing a criminal defense attorney wisely takes some time and research. However, when you consider the fact that your life or your life’s savings hang in the balance, the caution, research and footwork you do is definitely worth it.