It has been said time and again that an individual who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. Truer words have seldom been spoken. If you’ve been charged with a crime, your first order of business should be to find and hire a criminal lawyer who can help you through this demanding time. Here are some tips on hiring a good defense attorney.
Depending on what charges you’re facing, the penalties for conviction could be perilous and include fines and prison time. While there may be nothing to prevent that, you can be certain that you will not receive justice if you don’t have an advocate working for your side of the case. Here are some tips on hiring a good defense attorney.
If you aren’t sure about your first steps, you might think about contacting your state’s bar association for a referral. It is unlikely that they can or will provide you with a specific name, but they will be able to give you a list of practicing attorneys in your area that might be able to help with your case. You don’t want just any criminal lawyer. Look specifically for those who have experience working with the type of charges that you are facing. The more experience the better. These days, most attorneys have websites that outline clearly which fields they specialize in.
Consider what you want out of your case. Do you want the case to go to trial? Will you plead “not guilty”? Do you want to try for a plea bargain? These factors should play a role in determining which criminal lawyer you hire. Once you know what you want to get out of a case, you can more closely determine who you want on your side. It might not be in your best interest to hire an attorney known for plea bargaining if you want to argue your case in front of a jury. Make some phone calls and ask direct questions about the experience and predilections of the firms you are looking into.
Don’t just take what you read on a criminal lawyer’s website as your only information. Run his name through Google and see what comes up. You’re not likely to uncover his entire legal history in this fashion, but you might get a sense of where the person is coming from. See if any articles have been written about him, and from what angle. See if any clients have had anything to say about them on a public forum. Check directly with the state bar to make sure he has not been sanctioned or disciplined in any way. These factors can help you make a final decision.