When you’re in a situation where you need a criminal attorney, it’s not unusual to feel afraid and overwhelmed. The next steps you take can impact the rest of your life, and you may not know where to start.
Choosing the right attorney can be critical to the outcome of your case. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, so don’t make the mistake of blindly hiring the first attorney you meet.
Always interview a few potential candidates and make an informed decision. During the interview process, ask smart questions and listen carefully to the way they’re answered. The following seven questions can help you get started.
1. Do You Offer a Free Consultation?
It’s impossible to know whether you’re comfortable with a potential criminal attorney until you’ve spent some time with him or her. Attorneys also can’t give you an honest evaluation of your case during a five-minute phone consultation. They’ll need to know details such as:
- The charges currently filed against you
- The details of the arrest itself
- Whether you have a previous criminal record
- Your educational background and employment history
- Whether you have immigration problems or other potential issues
Once they have all this information, they can give you an opinion on the case and offer an accurate fee estimate. If the attorney you’re considering isn’t willing to offer a no-cost case evaluation, keep looking.
2. Do You Have Experience with Cases Like Mine?
You never want to be a criminal attorney’s very first case. Seek out a professional who has handled lots of cases like yours. In this case, he or she is likely to have a good idea of the strategy to take right from the start.
If your attorney knows the ins and outs of your case type, you’re far more likely to get the best possible outcome. Don’t take your chances working with an attorney who’s inexperienced and learning on the job.
3. What Is the Expected Outcome of My Case?
Be very wary of any attorney who tells you the results of your case are guaranteed. There are far too many variables to make such a guarantee, and to do so is considered unethical.
A good criminal attorney will give you an honest opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. He or she will provide a professional opinion and discuss the likely outcome based on your specific situation.
4. Do You Focus Primarily on Criminal Law?
There are many different types of attorneys, and each specialist can be hugely helpful in the right circumstances. However, a divorce or real estate attorney won’t do you much good when you need quality criminal defense.
A “general practice” lawyer is basically a jack of all trades, knowing a little bit about a lot of various areas of the law. When your future is at stake, you want an experienced attorney who focuses specifically on criminal charges. Attorneys who practice criminal law on a daily basis are more likely to know the judges and have an appreciation for the types of arguments that work best depending on who’s hearing your case.
5. What are Your Fees, and Do You Offer a Payment Plan?
Discussing fees with your attorney can feel like a sensitive subject. When you’re looking for the best criminal attorney, you don’t want to simply choose the cheapest one. However, exorbitant fees can create significant financial difficulty for years to come.
Attorneys can work based on several different fee structures. Each type has its pros and cons, so you’ll have to decide whether the payment plan offered is right for you. Either way, it’s important you know what you’re getting into before you make the commitment.
6. Who Will be Handling My Case?
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hire a top-notch attorney and pay a hefty retainer fee, only to be passed down to a lower-level associate who may be far less experienced. When interviewing a potential criminal attorney, ask whether the person you’re talking to is the one who will handle your case.
If your case will be shared by other associates in the firm, find out how involved the primary attorney plans to be. Once you have this information, you’ll have to decide how comfortable you are with the situation. If you’re not confident in the ability of the person who will actually do the work, it’s time to move on.
7. How Accessible Is Your Firm?
Dealing with criminal charges can be extremely stressful, and you’re likely to have a lot of questions. You want to hire an attorney who will be available and easy to reach. If problems arise or you have a pressing concern, how difficult will it be to get the help you need?
Look for an attorney who is willing to accommodate your work schedule and will personally communicate with you as things come up. This is one of the keys to establishing a trusting relationship with your chosen attorney. Understand the attorney’s communication policies up-front and make sure they meet your needs.
Trust Your Instincts
Once you have the answers to each of the questions listed above, you may be able to rule out some potential candidates. If you’re lucky, you’ll feel a connection with the attorney who’s right for you.
When in doubt, always listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, keep looking. This potentially life-altering decision deserves your time and attention and should never be rushed.
Do You Need a Criminal Attorney? Contact Us Today!
If you need a criminal attorney, it’s important that you find one who is tenacious and knowledgeable. Don’t settle for being just another number. At Danny Glover Law Firm, we take the time to understand the specific details of your case and craft a unique defense strategy to get you the best possible outcome.
Contact us today for a free initial case analysis and learn more about how we can help you.