When you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you have no choice but to seek legal counsel to represent you before the court. Finding criminal defense attorneys is tough, though. Here are some things you need to keep in mind.
1. Choose a specific lawyer. Hardly any lawyer will cover a wide range of cases. Usually, they concentrate within a given field. Some focus on tax cases, while others attend only to civil cases. Others deal with domestic crimes. So, look for one who has represented clients with similar cases as you have.
2. Experienced lawyers are preferable. A reputable federal defense attorney has enough knowledge, which is an advantage on your part. But his services would cost much more than the services of a new lawyer. Those who cannot afford private legal representatives can go for public defenders. The court may provide you with a public attorney, but his time and effort for the case may be deficient, as he may have other clients too.
3. Seek lawyers from well-known organizations. Groups like the NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) have a list of lawyers with substantial experience in handling criminal cases. They are your best bets.
4. Check out law firms. You may be phoning friends to provide you with recommendations, but you might only be dismayed. Instead, you can search for criminal law firms, which can provide the right legal counsel for you.
5. Do not hesitate to ask questions. What kind of questions should you ask? You can start by asking who’s going to handle your case. Would he be handling the case personally or will he send an assistant lawyer to handle the case instead? Also, do not be afraid to ask about the number of cases he has won. Good lawyers will not hesitate to tell you the correct figures.
6. Trust lawyers who say what they can do with your case. If their introduction is charges and fees, head for the door and look for another criminal defense attorney. Good attorneys do provide free advice.
7. Ask about the charging schemes. Lawyers have different ways of charging for their services. Some charge fixed payments, while others charge on an hourly basis. At the same time, many lawyers also pass on expenses of paperwork to you. Make sure that payment schemes are clear from the beginning.
8. There is no such thing as the best lawyer in town. Attorneys should not brand themselves as the best. Some may have won all their cases, but that does not mean that they are the best for you. The most reliable way to know if a lawyer is good enough for you is to meet him personally first. Interview him and ask him questions, then see if you are comfortable with him.
9. Do a background check on your attorney. Talk to former clients of the lawyer and ask them how their lawyer dealt with them and their cases. There is nothing more convincing than testimonies from real people. You can also look up the attorney’s name online and read the feedback on him there.
Keep in mind that a defense lawyer will not necessarily ask the court to clear you of all charges. If the evidence is powerful, the lawyer may ask the court to lower charges against you. In many cases, proof can be challenged, and that is why criminal court cases can run for so long