When you find yourself on the wrong side of the law and you are facing criminal charges, the first thing you should do is find a criminal lawyer and hire him/her to represent you. The justice system is complicated and procedures may vary from court to court. You need a criminal defense attorney who knows criminal law comprehensively and who is also accustomed to the type of criminal charges you are facing. Your criminal attorney should also be experienced and well informed on the proceedings of the particular court that your case is filed.
Facing criminal charges without a defense attorney is not an option. Therefore, you should make sure that you hire the best lawyer that you can get. You might be the one facing criminal charges, or one of your loved ones. In any case, you will need an attorney to fight for you or your family/friends in court, or else prison might be their next destination.
When you are choosing criminal defense attorneys these are the factors to consider
1. How Long Has the Attorney Practiced Criminal Law?
Before hiring a criminal attorney, first look into his/her law firm and establish how many years they have practiced criminal law. Your lawyer may be experienced as a civil attorney but lacks proper experience in criminal law. You want a lawyer who has represented people charged with a similar offense as you and has maintained a good record in most of the cases.
Especially, if a conviction will result in dire consequences like losing your job or your license to practice your career, you should opt for an old hand in criminal law. Even though this comes at a price, it surely doesn’t compare to the loss you would incur if you lost your job or your professional license, or worse still, end up in jail for years.
Additionally, experienced criminal attorneys may have studied the patterns of the prosecutors of certain courts and this helps them present a more solid defense. Having gone through the same court proceedings numerous times, your attorney may also have the upper hand in negotiating for your bail amount and terms.
2. How Does Your Defense Attorney Compare in Online Reviews?
You can utilize trusted customer review platforms such as yelp to find out what previous clients say about the criminal lawyer you want to hire. If you find out that the attorney has many poor reviews you should consider hiring a different one. Even though all criminal lawyers made it through law school and passed the bar, not all of them maintain high standards of Law practice. Luckily, you have professional review sites that you can trust to read about a lawyer before signing for his/her
3. Know Beforehand How the Legal Cost Is Structured
A good attorney will be upfront about the cost and put it in writing. However, you should care to know what other services you are paying for other than the legal fees. At times there are certain operating expenses that you may have to pay besides the legal fees. Before signing the agreement, you should be guaranteed that there will be no hidden or extra charges. This will protect you from exorbitant charges and you will pay for the right services.
You also do not want to choose the most expensive lawyer that you cannot afford the legal fees or the cheapest that will not guarantee quality service. Additionally, avoid the defense attorneys who guarantee you of a certain verdict, because they would aim to just sign you as a client and make more money. You should hire the lawyer who listens to you and advises you accordingly without having the legal fees cost you a limb.
The difference between a good criminal lawyer and a poor one may be the difference between jail and your freedom. With your freedom at stake, you should take enough time to vet your criminal lawyer before signing him/her up to represent you in court. You do not want to be among the 8% of people in the population who have felony convictions.