Criminal Defense Lawyer – Finding the Best Defense Lawyer for You

There are a number of reasons that someone may need the help of a criminal defense lawyer. A good one is not cheap, but a conviction on your record can cost you over and over for the rest of your life. First of all are the very real possibilities of large fines and time behind bars. However, even misdemeanor convictions can keep you from getting a good job. Although many potential employers will tell you that they will only check back through 7 years of your criminal history, that is largely a myth. When a criminal history report is generated your ENTIRE criminal history will be visible. Whether an employer admits it or not, your history will influence your chances of being hired no matter how far back the charges or convictions may have occurred. Many offenses will keep you from being able to rent an apartment or condominium.

Prior convictions will cause law enforcement to scrutinize you more closely if you are suspected of or charged with a crime in the future. It may influence sentencing in future cases and can wreak havoc in your life in many ways. These days, people even check criminal history reports before going on a date for the first time. In other words, if the need arises you need to defend yourself vigorously to achieve the best outcome possible and the best way to do that is to hire the best defense attorney you can find and can afford.

The most common areas where people may need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney are:

  1. Domestic Violence– In some domestic violence cases, false accusations are made out of spite or to further the alleged victim’s own agenda. In a divorce proceeding, for example, a mother may claim spousal abuse in order to harm her husband’s credibility in a custody battle.
  2. DUI and DWI CasesWhen are stopped by a law enforcement official for suspicion of drunk driving, there are defined rules which must be followed prior to and during the stop. A violation of procedures may be a violation of your rights and might significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you. Look for a defense attorney who specializes in this area of criminal law. They will look for the following:
    • Was there probable cause to stop you
    • Was a breath test properly administered
    • Was the person administering the test qualified to do so
    • Was the test equipment accurate and functioning properly
  3. Juvenile Crimes – In the case of juvenile charges, a criminal defense attorney is needed who knows how to work within the juvenile system. You need a good negotiator and someone who is skilled at getting the charges reduced or dropped.
  4. Federal Charges – The time to hire a good attorney in federal cases is ideally while an investigation is under way prior to charges being filed. Federal charges are generally serious and carry stiff penalties. An attorney who is experienced with the federal criminal justice system and understands the investigative process and procedural steps is critical to initiate a good defense. Some of the most common legal problems associated with federal charges include:
    • Medicare and Medicaid fraud
    • Drug conspiracy
    • Mortgage Fraud
    • Money laundering
    • Tax fraud
    • RICO Act and Racketeering Crimes

When you are faced with criminal charges or under investigation, an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights. A criminal defense lawyer who understands the law, the process and has experience in the area of criminal law which applies to your situation can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

What to Look For in a Memphis Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested or been issued a misdemeanor citation in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the first things you’re going to have to do is hire a lawyer. This can be a daunting task if you don’t know one, and especially so if this is your first run-in with the law. You’re probably confused and don’t know what to do. That’s ok. This article will help you out.

Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee have over 4,000 lawyers. That’s a lot. Why so many? Perhaps it’s because Memphis is a big city in a largely rural region. The greater Memphis area has a population of around 1 million people. Many people come here for work, family, and other purposes. Another reason is probably because of the Cecil C. Humphreys Law School at the University of Memphis, located at 1 North Front Street. It’s one of only three accredited law schools in Tennessee, so it attracts a lot of students. Many of those students stay in Memphis after graduation and start their practice here.

For the individual in need of a Memphis criminal defense lawyer, this means they will have to do some research before their selection. The most important thing to look for, in my opinion, is an attorney who dedicates his or her practice exclusively to criminal defense. As you begin your search for a Memphis criminal attorney, you’ll see that there are a lot of lawyers in a lot of different areas. What you want is a specialist, not a general practitioner. You don’t want someone who practices bankruptcy, divorce, personal injury, or other areas in addition to criminal law. You want a criminal attorney, pure and simple.

Think about it. The best criminal lawyers are the ones who practice criminal law exclusively. They’re going to know the law and the procedure regarding your case. They’re going to know each judge’s particular traits and habits. They’re going to know the prosecutors, and who to go to work out a deal. The Memphis criminal courthouse is located at 201 Poplar Avenue, which is downtown. The best criminal lawyers will be there everyday. Do not hire someone who just dabbles in criminal defense, or does it in addition to numerous other practice areas.

If you’re charged with DUI, shoplifting, drug possession, or any other crime in Memphis, you want to be represented by someone who has handled dozens, if not hundreds of those types of cases before. Only a dedicated Memphis criminal lawyer will have that kind of experience. In your research, you should ask the attorney how much experience they have with your type of case. You should ask what options you have for disposing of the case and keeping it off your record, and about ways to challenge the evidence if you want to go to trial. You should also ask what the worst case scenario would be if you were convicted as charged.

Remember, there are over 4,000 lawyers in Memphis, but if you’ve been charged with a crime you need to whittle your search down to experienced, competent criminal attorneys. You can find them by reviewing their website, and asking them specific questions about your case. If the lawyer can’t answer those questions honestly and competently, you should move on in your search.

Easy Steps to Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer

A great place to begin searching for a defense lawyer in Georgia is the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“GACDL”). The GACDL is the third largest criminal defense association in the United States, and is comprised of lawyers, law students, and criminal defense investigators.

According to the GACDL’s website, their main purposes and objectives are:

  • To provide an appropriate state organization representing those lawyers who are actively engaged in the defense of criminal cases;
  • To resist proposed legislation or rules which would curtail such rights and to promote sound alternatives;
  • To promote educational activities to improve the skills and knowledge of lawyers engaged in the litigation of criminal cases;
  • To improve the judicial system and to urge the selection and appointment to the bench of well-qualified and experienced lawyers;
  • To improve the correctional system and to seek more effective rehabilitation opportunities for those convicted of crimes;
  • and To promote constant improvement in the administration of criminal justice. If you are in need of a l defense attorney, please visit the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s website http://www.gacdl.org and click on “Find an attorney.”
  • Additionally, the State Bar of Georgia has a consumer pamphlet series featuring “How to Choose a Lawyer.” Consumers should also search the membership directory for information on Public Disciplinary History, Membership Status and Contact Information of an Attorney.

Here are things you should consider when hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you:

  • Time: How much time will it take for your legal issue to be resolved? Punishment: If convicted, what penalties are you subject to?
  • Outcome: What outcome and results should you expect?
  • Fees and Costs: How much will it cost you? Is there a fee for the initial consultation?
  • Is the fee structure based on a fixed rate, hourly rate, or other fee structure?
  • Expectations: You should also discuss your expectations with the attorney, and any special considerations that the attorney should take into account when representing you.
  • Experience: How long has the lawyer practiced criminal law? How many clients have they represented?