Hiring a criminal lawyer is necessary at least at one point in your life. In such instances, you need to hire a defense attorney who is knowledgeable and skilled in criminal law to guarantee the best possible outcome. However, how do you know which lawyer is the right person to represent you?
This is an important question you need to ask yourself before hiring a criminal defense attorney. Criminal law is a very sensitive matter, and you need to make an informed decision on the choice of lawyer to hire. Otherwise, you risk ending up in jail and wasting a lot of money in the process. Therefore, here are questions you need to ask a potential lawyer to know if they are better-placed for your case:
How Much Do You Charge For Your Services?
Although this question sounds quite obvious, it is one that most people overlook until the time comes when they should sign the fee agreement. You should never make such a mistake as this needs to be among the first questions to ask the criminal defense attorney you are interviewing. In most cases, lawyers quote a flat rate fee for services rendered for criminal law cases.
How Long Have You Practised Criminal Law?
When looking for a criminal lawyer, you should always consider the experience they have amassed over the years. This is especially crucial in criminal law as it allows them to know how best to prepare themselves for your case. Using this experience, they know what to expect during case proceedings, and are better prepared to build a solid defense. Lawyers with more experience in criminal law also advise on several issues such as the required attendance, what to expect in future court appearances, the costs, and any other issue worth knowing.
You should also ask questions about the type of cases they have done often or their specialty in criminal law. Asking such questions allows you to gauge how such an attorney relates to prospective law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors. This is vital because such relationships take time to be created, and it allows the attorney to have a greater understanding of how the system works. Furthermore, it would be best if you asked about the duration they have handled cases similar to yours. The longer they have, the more prepared they will be. With all this, you can be a lot more confident in your lawyer to be better placed to prove your innocence.
Some attorneys handle criminal cases but, at the same time, handle other kinds of legal works such as family law matters, probate, transactional law, among others. Because of this, you need to first confirm that your lawyer only specializes in criminal law. This is vital because it allows them to focus on this one area entirely, which increases the chances of you being declared innocent.
Have You Worked As A Prosecutor Before?
You must never overlook the importance of an attorney working as a prosecutor before. This is because such lawyers possess the mindset of a prosecutor, and thus know what to expect from the prosecution. Therefore, you must ask your prospective criminal defense attorney whether they have experience working as a prosecutor. Likewise, these lawyers not only have vast experience in the courtroom, but also have the current prosecutors deem them more credible.
What Are Your Professional And Educational Qualifications?
You must confirm whether your potential lawyer is legitimate or not by going through their professional and educational qualifications. You should do this by asking questions like the professional body they belong to, as well as the law school they graduated from. After you do this, you will be able to assess the legitimacy of your prospective attorney.
The reputation of your potential attorney matters a lot in the legal fraternity. Because of this, it would also be best to ask whether they have ever been accused of any attorney misconduct.
Have You Ever Handled A Case Identical To Mine?
Hiring a criminal attorney who has experience handling your case saves you not only time but also your hard-earned money. Their experience handling related cases also allows them to better prepare you for the outcome. Furthermore, you should ask about the cases that went to trial and the results as this helps you make an informed decision whether to hire them or not.
How Often Will You Get In Touch With Me?
Another critical question you should ask your potential attorney is how often you will be updated on the proceedings. You should also try and understand who to contact in case you have any questions, either the lawyer directly or the other persons in the law firm. Knowing this is essential since, as a defendant, you most likely have no idea about the number of times to contact your lawyer or the frequency of your meetings.
Once you understand the lawyer’s communication routine, make sure to know their preferred method of communication. This may either be mail, email, or phone, and it allows you to choose a method that you also find ideal. Through these communication channels, your lawyer will ensure you are up-to-date with the criminal proceedings. Thanks to this, you will be less stressed due to the criminal proceedings against you and be more hopeful for a positive outcome.
Which Areas Of Criminal Law Do You Have Experience With?
You should never overlook asking your potential criminal lawyer the area of criminal law that they specialize in. The reason for this is that defense attorneys specialize in different aspects of criminal cases, from theft-related crimes to violent crimes, or drug-related offenses. Once you know this, it will be easier to hire an attorney that specializes and practices in the crime you are charged with.
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Most lawyers work for huge law firms that also hire paralegals and junior associates. This means that specific tasks in your case might be assigned to these legal team members. While this might save you money since junior associates charge a much lower hourly rate for the same task, you should confirm that the criminal defense lawyer makes all the vital decisions. Therefore, you need to make sure that the criminal attorney you pick has adequate time to handle your case personally and directly supervise the other team members.
The search for a qualified criminal lawyer can be a daunting task, especially if you do not know what to ask. However, this doesn’t need to be a problem ever again as you now have an idea of the questions to ask when interviewing an attorney. You will thus be able to get a capable criminal attorney who will do everything possible to get the best outcome for your case.
About the author: Ashley Springer is a criminal defense lawyer who is responsible for defending a person who is charged with a crime. Ashley speaks on behalf of her clients to ensure that they win their cases in court and clear their names. Most people do not understand how criminal cases work, which is why Ashley often publishes legal-related articles online.
Thanks for the tip that finding a criminal attorney with experience on similar cases would be ideal to hire. A close friend of my aunt was recently charged with theft and the accuser even has video evidence. It would really take a skilled attorney to defend the case well.