If you are accused of a crime, you will definitely want to consider hiring a good criminal lawyer. While you have the right to a public defender, and one will be appointed for you if you cannot afford to hire an outside attorney, a good criminal lawyer is the best way to ensure that you are well represented in court. Since your liberty is at stake, hiring a good criminal lawyer is not something to take lightly.
Create a Short List
Start the process of choosing a criminal lawyer by creating a short list of good potential candidates. You can use online searches or the phone book to find some options in your area. Visit the websites of the lawyers you are considering, and see if they have expertise in the particular area in which you are being prosecuted. You can often find this information in the lawyer’s biographical profile on the website.
Once you have a name, search for that name online. Do not visit the lawyer or firm’s website again, but see if there is any other information about the attorney. Perhaps he has written some articles or been mentioned by others online. This can either provide comfort to you that you have chosen a good attorney, or help you avoid someone that is less than professional.
You can also visit your local paper’s website to search the paper’s archives for the lawyer or firm’s name. This will allow you to see if the lawyer has had any publicity, good or bad, for recent cases.
Finally, if you have any special needs, such as a limited English vocabulary, consider searching for a lawyer who can cater to these. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your lawyer throughout your case.
These tips will help you narrow down your list to two to four lawyers. Once you have done this, you are ready to contact the lawyers directly to choose the right one from your short list.
Make a Phone Call
Once you have your short list, make a phone call to try to set up an interview with the lawyer. This may not always be possible, because good criminal lawyers are very busy people and may not have the time for an interview with a prospective client. However, calling the firm will give you a chance to get a feel for the staff. Make sure they treat you with professionalism and common courtesy.
If you can get an interview with the lawyer, take it. Do not tell him too much about your case until you have agreed to work with him, but ask him how he has handled cases similar to yours.
As the lawyer for references, and call those references. This is time consuming, but getting first-hand knowledge about how the lawyer works with people who have been in your shoes is invaluable.
Find out how he is paid, as well. Lawyers usually will be paid by the hour or through an upfront fee, and these rates can vary significantly from firm to firm, so you will want to know ahead of time how much to expect to pay for services. Keep in mind, however, that the cheapest lawyer may not be the best one for your case. On the other hand, the most expensive one may not be best either. Consider the cost as part of the overall picture of the lawyer, and choose the one you are the most comfortable about working with on a daily basis.
Make Your Choice
Make sure that you feel confident that the criminal lawyer Fort Lauderdale you have chosen will handle your case well. Your instincts are invaluable in helping you choose a good criminal lawyer. So do your homework, count the cost, and then go with your gut and hire the lawyer you feel the most confident in at the end of the process.
Full service law firm specializes in white collar crime, sex crimes, domestic violence, drug related offenses and motor vehicle related crimes in Fort Lauderdale.