If you are charged with a crime, you may be unsure what to do or where to turn. These situations can be confusing, overwhelming, and scary.
Not only is there the possibility of jail time if you are convicted, but you also must deal with the stress of a trial and the stigma that comes with this.
In these situations, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is in your best interest. Here you can find some tips and information that will help you find a quality and reputable criminal defense attorney.
Being charged with a crime is serious. You need to hire an attorney who knows the law and how it applies to your case.
Try to find a lawyer with experience in the local courts since they will likely have relationships with the prosecuting attorneys and judges. This may be beneficial when creating a plea agreement or even reducing the charges against you.
While this is important, consider the attorney’s success rate, too. There is no substitute for experience; however, experience without success does not mean much when you have been charged with a crime.
Quality attorneys will have a track record of success.
Experience matters, and successes matter. However, you also need to ensure the attorney you hire has represented cases like yours in the past.
While criminal defense lawyers may represent all crimes and charges, some specialize in specific types. For example, if an attorney specializes in defending DUI cases, they may not be ideal if you are facing theft charges.
If you cannot determine the types of cases the attorney is familiar with, ask or look at past client testimonials.
Quality criminal defense attorneys understand how challenging it can be to deal with the police, investigators, and prosecutors. The lawyer you hire to defend your rights and situations should be ready to go against these individuals on your behalf.
Try to find an attorney with an aggressive defense style. This will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Even though confidence is important, no attorney should promise or guarantee your case. Instead, they should explain what will happen and how they will build a strong defense to present in court. Searching for legal representation elsewhere is best if the attorney promises a certain outcome.
It may seem like a good idea to use the services of a public defender to avoid having to pay for legal representation. However, most public defenders lack courtroom experience and have heavy caseloads.
This means they will not have much time to spend on your case or answer your questions. Public defenders are not motivated to go the extra mile and fight for you, either, like a private attorney is.
When you hire an attorney in the local area (which is recommended), it means they have established relationships and connections that can be beneficial.
A well-connected attorney will better understand the local procedures and have experience with the prosecutors and judges in the area. They will also know who may offer a plea agreement and who will not.
Having an attorney with knowledge of the inner workings of the local criminal courtrooms may help them develop a winning strategy. While there are no guarantees, this can work in your favor.
If you find a board-certified criminal defense attorney, it means you are hiring the “best of the best.” With this legal representation, it means your attorney is proficient in the specific legal field you need representation for.
Researching online, reading reviews, and looking at social media can give you a general idea of the attorneys in your area and some information about them. However, you should also schedule an initial consultation with an attorney you are considering.
Some offer these for free, while others charge a small fee. It is worth paying the fee to ensure you have found the right attorney for your needs.
Sometimes, you and the attorney will not “mesh.” This person will defend your freedom, so you need someone you are comfortable with and trust. Be sure to trust your gut. Continuing your search for the right legal representation is best if something does not feel right in the initial meeting.
You need to contact an attorney when charges are filed against you. They need as much time as possible to help build a strong defense on your behalf.
The attorney should be available to take your initial call and respond to any questions or inquiries promptly.
Finding an attorney who is available and accessible will be beneficial to you and your case. If they are not available or accessible initially, it is a sign they will not be throughout your case.
You may want to try to save money by choosing the criminal defense attorney with the lowest fees. However, this is not a good strategy. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies in the legal industry.
This does not mean you must choose the attorney with the highest fees. Usually, attorneys with less experience charge lower fees. If your freedom is on the line, now is not the time to try to save money. You need the best representation you can afford.
Ask about how the attorney charges upfront so you will not be surprised down the road.
Sometimes, criminal charges do not proceed to trial. However, this is not always the case. You need confidence that the lawyer you hired can handle the situation if your case goes to trial.
Ask about the attorney’s courtroom experience. If they have minimal, hiring them may not be a good idea. You need an attorney who is confident and can confidently argue your case.
While courtroom confidence is important, the attorney should also take cues from you. While they must file motions and handle other legal aspects, it is ultimately your life and your trial. You should have the final word regarding how you plead and other important decisions.
If you are facing criminal charges, our legal team at the Law Firm of Stephen J. Pisani, LLC, is ready to help. We will work to build a solid defense and aggressively protect your rights and freedom.
The first step is to call to schedule an initial meeting with our attorneys. We can learn more about your situation and begin developing a defense strategy. We understand how stressful these situations can be and are ready to help handle the legal aspect of your situation.