Finding a Criminal Lawyer Doesn’t Have To Be Hard: 6 Tips On How To Spot One
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law the first thing you need to do is find an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer. Criminal attorneys can defend you in cases of traffic citations, driving under the influence, domestic violence, drug sale or possession, assault, firearms offenses, and various misdemeanors and felonies. If you are found guilty you can face penalties or fines, probation, a suspended driver’s license and possible jail time. Do not face the consequences alone. Use these 6 tips to find a criminal lawyer that will advocate and fight for you.
- Family members or friends – The first place you can start in your search for a criminal lawyer is with your family and friends. If you feel comfortable discussing your situation, ask people you trust for recommendations and referrals. People that love and care about you will only refer you to an attorney they trust. Don’t rely on a referral alone. Be sure to properly interview a prospective criminal attorney and make sure he or she is a good fit for your particular case.
- A local bar association’s lawyer referral panel – You can also find attorney referrals through a local bar association. “Attorneys are usually recommended according to their experience and the type and seriousness of a criminal charge.”
- Courthouse visits – In many instances you can visit your local courthouse and observe defense attorneys in their element. If there is a particular attorney that impresses you, you can ask for his or her business card after the hearing or simply look up the contact information online. If you decide to use this method be sure to make an initial appointment at which time you should ask thorough questions about the attorney’s case history, fees and expertise.
- Online – If you are unable to find an attorney using referrals or personal experience you can go online to find an attorney. You may have to look at several to see who would be the best fit for your case. A good criminal lawyer will understand that you will have questions and want to discuss them with you. There are some basic questions you should ask any criminal attorney you are considering hiring to represent you.
- “Do you have any experience handling cases similar to mine?
- How much of my criminal case will you actually handle?
- How many jury trials have you litigated?
- How often do you work out plea agreements or ask for a lesser charge?
- What are your attorney’s fees, and how are they calculated? Do you offer a payment plan?
- Would you be willing to provide references from clients you’ve helped?
- Legal review sites – in addition to online listing of criminal defense attorneys, there are also sites that are devoted to rating attorneys. You can reference these sites, such as www.avvo.com, to find attorney’s in your area that match your needs. You can then read their reviews and based on other people’s experiences find the attorney that is the best match for you.
- Don’t use a bail bondsman as a referral source – If you have a criminal case pending against you your stress level will be elevated and you may not be thinking clearly. It may seem natural to look to your bail bondsman for a referral; after all they deal with lawyers all the time. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people out there and bail bondsmen are not legally allowed to give referrals in a number of states. There are instances of lawyers giving bail bondsmen kickbacks in exchange for referrals. This is an unfortunate example of the bail bondsman putting his or her financial interest above finding the best lawyer to represent you. This is why some states restrict bail bondsmen from making any kind of recommendation regarding lawyers.
- Your intuition – Following your intuition may sound silly but at the end of the day you need a lawyer that understands you, your case and your needs. Part of finding the best criminal lawyer for you is listening to your intuition. Do your research and be diligent but also listen to your gut. If there is an attorney that doesn’t seem like he or she is listening to you or doesn’t care about your case, walk away. Conversely, if there is an attorney that may not have quite as much experience as another, but also cares a lot more about you and gives you the time and attention that you need consider hiring him or her. When it comes to finding a criminal attorney you will have a lot of options to choose from. Look for a criminal attorney that is qualified, experienced, and aggressive and then don’t be afraid to listen to your intuition.
When looking for a criminal defense attorney use every available resource to find the right fit. From family and friends to online resource finding a criminal lawyer doesn’t have to be hard. You now have 7 tips on how to spot one. Use however many of these tips you need to find the best lawyer for your situation. Your future could depend on the effectiveness of your criminal lawyer. Even if your criminal case is relatively minor, a guilty verdict could impact your ability to get credit, a job or your immigration status. If your case is not minor your choice of lawyer is even more important as issues such as jail time become possibilities. Having a criminal case brought against you can be an incredibly stressful time but it is important that you do your research. The first step in mounting an effective defense is finding an effective criminal attorney.