The Law Offices of Kensley R. Barrett Articles How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney

How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney

By Ken Barrett  Nov. 21, 2016 4:28p

Choosing the right criminal defense attorney can essentially make or break your case. If you are facing a criminal charge, you want to make sure you have an attorney who is competent and has years of experience, plus someone who is confident in the courtroom and can efficiently defend your rights as their client. The right attorney will work hard to get the best possible outcome in your case, which makes all the difference in protecting your future.

Research Potential Attorneys

No matter what kind of criminal charge you are facing, you should seek legal advice. Start by researching potential attorneys to handle your case. You can seek recommendations from friends and family or do a search online for nearby attorneys. The best place to start is with the State Bar website. Most attorneys provide free consultations for the first visit regarding a case, which will help you better understand the charges you're facing. These consultations are also great for helping you decide which attorney is the right one for you and your case.

If you are unsure of who to hire as your private attorney, feel free to schedule consultations with multiple attorneys to help you decide which one is right for you.

Choosing an Attorney

When choosing an attorney for a criminal case, you want someone who has years of experience dealing with these types of cases. You don't want someone who has no experience in this area. You want someone who has worked with clients facing similar charges, has been to court to defend then, and has gotten results at trial.

Keep in mind that there are various types of attorneys that specialize in different cases. If you have broken a state law (DUI, assault, theft, domestic violence, etc.), you may want to seek representation from a state attorney. If you are facing charges that involve the United States Constitution, any case that includes the United States as a party, bankruptcy cases, copyright cases, and patent cases, please seek a federal attorney.

If you do not have the finances to hire a private attorney to take on your case, you can seek legal representation from a public defender. The key thing to know is that public defenders generally have limited time and resources for the cases they handle. However, if you cannot afford a private attorney, it's wise to at least speak to a public defender to get an idea of what your options are.

Consultations with an Attorney

First, when choosing a private criminal defense attorney, you want to make sure the one you hire is a licensed attorney and is in good standing the state Bar. It's also a good idea to come into a consultation with a potential attorney with a list of questions to ask. This is a helpful way to get to know an attorney better to ensure he or she is the right fit for your case.

You will want to ask if the attorney has experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. Make sure the one you choose has years of experience handling criminal cases and has gotten results in the courtroom. While this isn't a guarantee an attorney can get the same results for you, it sure is comforting to know you have a competent attorney when entering the courtroom.

Make sure you are open and honest when sharing details about your case. You want to give a potential attorney all the necessary information so he or she has a full understanding of your case and what you are up against. Then, ask the attorney what options you have. It's important to know exactly what you can do in your case and what you are facing.

You will also want to ask about attorney fees and court costs associated with your case. Hiring an attorney and going to court is a very costly experience. However, choosing not to hire an attorney can cost you even more than money. Ask for an estimate so you know what you can expect financially and so you can start setting money aside. If you do not think you will be able to pay everything upfront, ask about payment plans. Many attorneys are happy to provide a payment plan for clients.

If you are visiting a large firm that has many attorneys working there, you will want to ask who will be working on your case. If you were not able to meet this attorney at your consultation, do some research to get to know your attorney better to ensure it's the right fit.

Finally, you do not just want to hire an attorney who has years of experience dealing with cases like yours. You also want an attorney who you feel comfortable with. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a particular attorney, he or she is not the right fit. You want someone who you trust and who you feel is capable of being the best representation for your case. Make note of how you feel during the consultations you have with potential attorneys so you can choose someone you truly feel good about.

Why an Attorney Makes All the Difference

Having an attorney by your side can help lower the penalties you face or possibly get them dropped altogether, so it's important that you do not simply accept your charges. Seek help from an attorney to improve the situation. You want someone who will provide you with the best legal representation possible, will put together a strong defense, and will be prepared to represent you in the courtroom.

If you have thoroughly done your research on your chosen attorney, you can feel confident you have picked someone who is qualified for the job and will serve you to the best possible degree. Make sure you remain open with your attorney and stay in touch as the case develops since it can be a long, drawn-out process. The right attorney is there to support you every step of the way.

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