If you’ve been charged with a crime, we know you want to find a criminal defense lawyer that can help you to get the best possible outcome for your case.
However, especially if this is your first offense, it can be a challenge to find a good attorney — or even to know what to look for in the first place.
How much should the right drug defense attorney cost? How can you verify that they’re licensed by the American Bar Association?
What kinds of experience and qualifications should you look for if you’ve been charged with credit card fraud?
These are all essential questions that you should ask when you interview multiple attorneys.
What else should you look for when you need to find the top legal representation?
Keep on reading this post to find out.
1. The Right Qualifications
The first thing you need to look for when you’re ready to find a criminal defense lawyer?
Someone with the right educational background, the proper licensing, and years of experience. Start by ensuring that the attorney’s license is up-to-date, and that they are indeed licensed to practice law in your state.
Then, look at their credentials.
The hard truth is that the legal market is greatly oversaturated at the moment. Law school applications and acceptances are consistently rising — which means that not every attorney truly has what it takes to succeed.
Especially if you’re facing serious charges, you don’t want to be a new attorney’s learning experience.
Investigate the law school they attended, and verify that they did indeed go there.
2. Experience with Cases like Your Own
In addition to excellent qualifications, you also want to find an attorney who has experience with cases that at least somewhat mirror your own.
This way, they’ll be much more familiar with how the jury might feel, how the lines of questioning will go, and even the kind of evidence they should collect. They’ll be able to learn from their past successes — and more importantly, from their past failures.
Plus, if you’ve been charged with a DUI or similar offense, your attorney may be able to get you into rehab or another treatment as opposed to a harsher sentence.
Talk with your attorney about how different tactics and approaches have worked for them in the past. Will they use similar methods when defending you? What are the legal loopholes that they could take advantage of? What sorts of sentences are usually handed down if you are found guilty?
In addition to giving you a good idea about what to expect? You’ll also be able to gauge the level of experience they have in working with people facing charges like your own.
3. A Strong Trial Record
Even the best federal criminal lawyers won’t win every case.
However, when you meet with a potential attorney, you should certainly ask them about their overall case record. In general, the rule of thumb is fairly intuitive: you should look for someone who has won more cases than they’ve lost.
Of course, it’s about more than just wins and losses alone.
You should also ask about whether or not they’ve been able to get charges against a client dropped. Make sure you also understand their success when it comes to reaching an agreeable sentencing or entering in a plea bargain that benefits their clients.
You can also ask them the tactics that they think you should take when it comes to your own case. If you feel like they’re offering you the same advice they do to everyone — not your unique situation — it’s time to move on.
4. A Communication Style You Like
You and your defense attorney will have countless conversations over the length of your case.
As such, you need to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to the way you communicate. The best way to determine this is to go in for a consultation with the lawyer.
We suggest asking them to explain a difficult legal concept to you. Pay attention to how they answer.
Do you feel like they can explain concepts to you in plain English? Or, are you getting drowned in legal jargon? Do you feel as though the attorney is willing to take their time with you, or rushing things to get to their appointment?
You should also ask how they prefer to communicate and the best ways and times to contact them. If you prefer to have someone you can just pick up the phone and talk to, ensure you’re working with someone that feels the same way.
5. The Right Connections
Your criminal defense attorney will certainly be familiar with the ins and outs of your state and even federal laws. They’ll understand the rules of court, help you to enter a plea, and even file your paperwork for you.
But that doesn’t mean that their experts in every area of your case.
This is why it’s so important that they have a strong network of industry connections they can pull from.
They should know medical professionals and toxicologists that can conduct tests to serve as compelling evidence.
Perhaps they have great relationships with attorneys that specialize in areas that would be helpful to your case. They may also need to know mental health professionals, in order to properly evaluate your mental stability and that of any witnesses.
They may even be a member of a local club or guild for attorneys that helps them to meet people in the field or adjacent to it.
Ask about the kinds of connections that they have, and how they feel those connections could improve the outcome of your case.
6. A Sensible Fee Structure
Especially if you’re facing rather serious charges, it’s no secret that the right federal criminal lawyers likely won’t come cheap.
Of course, you have the opportunity of going with a Public Defender. However, if you have the means to pursue your own counsel, you should do so.
This means you need to ensure that you understand the ins and outs of how the lawyer charges fees, as well as how you’ll be billed.
For example, are you charged an hourly rate? Are you billed once per month, or more often than that? Will you need to cover the entire bill in a single payment, or can you create a payment plan?
Will you be responsible for paying anyone that the lawyer meets with, like another attorney, a doctor, or a specialist, to strengthen your case? Do they offer electronic billing?
You want to ensure you find a criminal defense lawyer that makes the investment worth it. However, if possible, you also want to find representation that’s willing to work with you when it comes to payment.
Above all, make sure you understand the different aspects of a criminal defense lawyer cost.
7. Excellent References
The final thing you need to be on the lookout for when you’re in the market for a criminal defense lawyer?
One that has excellent references. Like The Benari Law Group, your representation should certainly have testimonials from clients on their website.
However, you need to take things to the next level. It’s not enough to read just the reviews on a firm’s website or those listed on a third-party review page. You also need to speak with past clients directly.
It’s not just about understanding whether or not these past clients feel the attorney did a good job for them. It also allows you to identify any conflicts or even differences of opinion or working styles that might not be a good fit for you.
You should ask if they felt proper research and time was dedicated to their case. You should understand whether or not past clients felt listened to, and that their opinions and even desires regarding pleas, witnesses, and defense tactics and evidence were met.
It’s time to look for representation elsewhere. Your future is simply too important to leave in the hands of someone who is less than competent.
Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer You Trust with These Tips
We urge you to follow the tips in this post when you’re ready to find a criminal defense lawyer with the best record, most experience, and strongest communication style.
Looking for more information about what you can expect when it’s your day in court? Want to understand the nature of your specific charges, or study up on the laws in your state?
We’ve got you covered when it comes to all that and more.
Keep checking back with us for tips on what to do if you’re charged in a car wreck case, strengthen your arguments, and much more.