Having to deal with criminal charges is a challenge for anyone. Whether you’re trying to prove your innocence or get a fair sentence, choosing the proper defense attorney is absolutely crucial. However, with all the different options out there, finding a good criminal defense attorney can be difficult. Before you decide to pick anyone to represent you, make sure that you ask these following questions.
How Many Criminal Cases Have You Handled?
Experience is probably the most important thing you should be looking for when picking a criminal defense attorney. A good defense attorney should be able to conduct an investigation, select a jury, argue and draft motions, examine witnesses and know how to deliver effective closing arguments and opening statements.
When being charged with a criminal offense, you have to keep in mind that the prosecutors have the cards decked against you and have quasi infinite resources at their disposal, so they won’t hesitate to take the case to trial unless you decide to plead guilty. That’s why you need a competent attorney by your side who knows how to deal with criminal cases to maximize your chances.
Do You Have Specific Experience with My Type of Case?
It’s not enough for the attorney that you pick to simply have experience with criminal cases at large. It would be wiser to go with a lawyer who has experience with your specific type of case and has a track record for success as well. A criminal defense lawyer who has experience with robbery and drug charges may not be the most well equipped for money laundering or fraud cases for instance. So, make sure that you know in which area they are specialized in and don’t take the blanket “criminal defense attorney” label at face value.
What’s the Fee Structure?
Knowing the fee structure is also very important before you hire an attorney so that you can avoid confusion. Criminal defense lawyers will usually either charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. While it can be a great idea to shop around and get a favorable rate, you also have to think about the reputation of the firm as well. A reputable criminal defense attorney will usually charge more, and you have to be ready to pay extra for good representation, especially if you’re dealing with serious charges.
Ask them what fee structure they operate on and, if they work by the hour, ask if you’ll have to keep them on a retainer. If they ask for a flat fee, ask what is and isn’t included as part of their service. Also ask if you have to pay the fees upfront and if they’re refundable. You should also ask about any possible extra fees as well since they can easily add up, especially if you’re dealing with a lengthy trial.
These few tips should be able to help you weed out the bad criminal defense attorneys and find one who will work for your case. Make sure that you do your due diligence before you work with any attorney and make sure that you do not compromise the quality of your defense for a discount.