If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may be wondering how you can get the best possible outcome for your case, and whether an attorney is right for you at all. What does an attorney do? How much will it cost? These are all very valid questions, but don’t worry – this guide to choosing a criminal attorney has you covered from start to finish! Whether you have never been in trouble with the law before or if this is your third time being charged with a crime, this article has got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
1) Choose an attorney whose qualifications fit your needs
Of course, it’s important that your attorney has experience in criminal law. It’s equally important that he or she is knowledgeable in your local area. Some states have more relaxed or stringent laws than others—knowing what you can and can’t get away with can be key to avoiding later complications with your case.
2) Check to see if the attorney has won any awards
If you find yourself in need of an attorney, it’s important to consider not only how many years they have practiced law but also if they have ever won any awards or accolades for their services.
Awards and recognitions are excellent indicators of quality work and effective representation. It is always important to select someone with a proven track record. Awards do not guarantee your lawyer will win your case, but they do mean that he or she has been doing great work with his or her clients.
3) Look for great reviews on lawyer websites and in directories
Reviews can give you an idea of how well your potential attorney communicates and whether they have experience with your specific type of case. If their reviews are mixed or if they seem bland, take that as a sign that you might not be making a good choice.
4) Ask friends, family members, coworkers, or neighbors for recommendations
Don’t be afraid to ask your trusted friends, family members, coworkers, or neighbors for recommendations for criminal attorneys. Any of these people will be able to provide you with advice about who they know that is experienced in criminal law and will be more than happy to help.
Just make sure you take any recommendations with a grain of salt and do your own research as well before hiring an attorney. You’ll want someone who has experience working in your area of concern because different areas have different laws regarding specific crimes.
5) Look for attorneys who have been practicing a long time
Since you want your case to be in good hands, it’s best to opt for an attorney who has been practicing law for at least 10 years. This is because long-time attorneys will have more experience with different legal cases and can, therefore, give better advice. Also, most states require lawyers to practice law for at least three years before they can be admitted into their bar.
6) Choose someone you trust
You’re going to be handing over an awful lot of your life, including some very serious information. You want someone you can trust and with whom you feel at ease.
The relationship between you and your attorney is one of the most important in your life, so take time to find a good fit. To that end, it may make sense for you to interview several potential attorneys before making your choice.
7) Check online rating systems
One of your first steps in finding a criminal attorney should be to check online rating systems. Online rating systems give you information about an attorney’s past performance, including their expertise and success rate.
You can also look for comments from people who have used or considered using that specific attorney, which will help you know what to expect going forward. These ratings and reviews are great sources of information and insight as you make your decision on which criminal defense lawyer is right for you.
8) Determine your budget early on
A good criminal attorney is expensive, but it’s essential that you find one who fits your budget. Many attorneys can offer payment plans and accept credit cards, so don’t let cost be your deciding factor in choosing an attorney. Though it may seem clichéd, you can ask for referrals from friends or even professionals like doctors or accountants.
9) Know what you will be charged upfront and upfront
Know what you will be charged with before you hire an attorney. An attorney who takes your case will know how much time they can invest in it and provide you with realistic expectations as to what their costs will be. Don’t rely on verbal estimates or best guesses – protect yourself and know what you are getting into before you hire someone.
10) Get more than one estimate
If you’re charged with a crime, it can be easy to panic and pick up the first phone number you see on an online search. It’s best, however, to get more than one estimate before making your decision.
There are many variables that can change an attorney’s fees—what state you live in, whether or not your case goes to trial, whether or not someone is facing other charges as well—so keep that in mind when comparing prices.