Trying to choose a defense attorney is a huge decision, and quite intimidating. This is especially true if you if the police are accusing you of criminal charges. Whether you are guilty of the crimes or not, at your earliest opportunity you should contact a defense attorney. But how do you pick the best one?
The first thing to consider is that most defense attorneys offer a free consultation. Even if you do not end up hiring the lawyer, then what you learn during the consultation could benefit you in a court of law. A defense attorney can educate you about your options, plea bargains, and the things that might happen on the chance that you are convicted of a crime.
Next, you need to know what a defense attorney does. Their top priority is to represent people who are victims of either some kind of criminal charge or any type of lawsuit brought against them. They are aware of pre-trial motions that can help your situation. If they know the prosecutors, then they may even be able to get your case dismissed completely.
Video – How to Pick a Defense Attorney
The Questions You Need to Ask Before Choosing an Attorney
Once you determine that you need a defense attorney, it is time to pick one out from the many names in the telephone book. Here are some things that can help you select the best defense attorney for the charges or lawsuit against you, regardless of the fine details.
- WHAT KIND OF DEFENSE ATTORNEY DO YOU NEED? You will need to know if you need a state or federal defense attorney. For example, a state defense attorney can help if you break state laws like family disputes or traffic violations. A federal defense attorney assists with things like copyright law, bankruptcy, and tax issues.
- IN WHAT AREA DOES THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY CONCENTRATE THEIR PRACTICE? This does not necessarily mean geographic area, but the type of crime or law. Some defense attorneys only handle violent crimes, for instance, while others specialize in worker’s compensation issues. The State Bar offers specialization law. Look for this as well as special designations from outside agencies.
- DO YOU NEED A DEFENSE ATTORNEY OR A PUBLIC DEFENDER? The disadvantage of a public defender is that they have less time and resources to work on your case. This gives you a lower chance in getting the justice you deserve. When you pick the best defense attorney, then you are getting someone with a lower case load and more time and resources to dedicate to preparing for your day in court.
- HAS THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY HANDLED CASES SIMILAR TO YOURS? This is not a requirement, but it can help. If you are fighting a legal issue with your job over worker’s compensation, then it is unlikely that you would choose a lawyer who primarily defends convicted murderers and rapists to try your case. You should also ask about the track record for their winning or losing cases similar to yours as well.
- WHERE DID THE ATTORNEY ATTEND SCHOOL? Most defense attorneys list their educational history on their website. You should be able to find out what degrees the attorney holds, if he or she ever taught classes at a law school or other type of law program, or published some type of legal article in a professional journal. The better educated your lawyer is, the better he or she can defend you in court.
A Little Research Goes a Long Way when Picking an Attorney
The time you put into interviewing and searching through the backgrounds of potential lawyers is priceless. It will help you know that you are paying for the best defense attorney once you make your final selection. At the very least, they should belong to the local and State Bar Association for the area in which the crime was committed. Other organizations that are a good indicator of the best defense attorney include groups like the State and National Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
If others you know are aware of your situation then they might suggest their idea of the best criminal defense attorney to you. This could be someone from your family, a person at your job, or even someone from your church or elsewhere in your community. If you have time before making a selection, consider observing a courtroom to see this person in action. You want to know as much as possible about a lawyer before putting your legal fate into their hands.