When you are facing criminal charges, you have too much at stake. Even only one criminal charge can have a severe negative impact on your life.
Depending on the charges raised against you, you could be facing jail time, significant fines, or even have the charges against you recorded in your permanent records, which could tarnish your reputation for life. So, choosing the right defense attorney becomes the foremost essential task.
A good criminal lawyer should understand your state’s criminal laws well and be willing to battle for your legal rights no matter what every step of the way.
Here are some things that you should know before making a thoroughly thought-out decision of hiring an attorney.
- Experience: the foremost thing that you should look into before hiring a criminal lawyer is how experienced they are in handling cases that are similar to your type. You can ask questions to your attorney directly to know about their experience in court, their educational background, and how familiar they are with working your type of case. If you are still not satisfied with your lawyer, then you can ask around and about to know more about them.
- Familiar and well acquainted with people involved in the court: A lawyer who is familiar with the judges, prosecutors who are appointed or involved in your case should be hired. Acquaintance with local personas and practices can help you resolve your case faster and even without taking it to court.
- The guide: an excellent criminal lawyer should be able to thoroughly guide you in every step of the case proceedings. He or she should be able to explain everything to you about the court process and your role in it.
- You don’t always need to take it to court: A knowledgeable criminal lawyer should Know about alternative methods for resolving your case without serving any jail or prison time. It has been seen that a significant percentage of cases are usually settled even without a trial by settling the case with the plea bargain. And if you hire a potential lawyer, they should be able to create a diversion or dismissal of charges. Your lawyer should be able to clearly discuss how you could do so without hiding anything or playing any trick.
- Jury Experience: Try to find a lawyer who has experience with jury trials. A criminal lawyer without any experience of facing a jury might not be able to provide the complete guide on the proper risk and consequences, and thus it can lead to the rejection of your plea agreement.
- Success Rate: Knowing the success rate is the best way to tell if a lawyer is a good one or not. It is unethical of a lawyer to hide or lie about the success rate of their previous cases. You could also look into the firm or organization they work in to know more before hiring them.
- The legal fees: Your attorney must be entirely clear and transparent about the legal fees that will be required to defend your case. They should also be able to explain to you about ancillary fees that may be required for your defense.
Further, it is also crucial to know that the state will provide you a public defender to defend your case if you cannot afford outside counsel.
Choosing the right lawyer could change the direction of how your case might go. So it is more appropriate to do some research before choosing a criminal lawyer for you.