What You Should Know Before You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Hopefully we will never be in a position where we need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. However, during a person’s lifetime there is a possibility that they may, and if it is the first time a person has been charged, they will generally have no clue as to how to go about finding a criminal defense lawyer or what to look for when they do search for one. It has been estimated that about 1 in 20 Americans will be arrested for some type of offense at some point in their lives. Naturally, some of the charges will be minor and not carry criminal penalties. Although some charges may not appear to carry serious consequences, some can and they can adversely affect a person for the rest of their lives.

Many people will not want to consult with family and friends to find a good criminal defense attorney because they are embarrassed and don’t want to publicize their arrest. There are several good criminal defense directories online and these may the best resource for many people when searching for an attorney with experience in the type of offense for which they have been charged.

Before you hire an attorney you should put them through a screening process. Write down your questions in advance and be prepared when you first discuss your situation with them. Typically you will want to gather some information over the phone to save time before setting up a meeting with them. Here are some questions you should be prepared to ask:

1. Are you experienced with handling cases similar to mine?
2. Will you be handling my case personally or assigning it to someone else?
3. What percentage of cases similar to mine that you have personally handled have you gotten a plea agreement, reduced charges, had charges dismissed or your client has been found not guilty?
4. How many jury trials have you personally litigated?
5. Is there a retainer and if so how much is it? How much of my case will the retainer pay for? What are your additional charges? How much do you anticipate the total charges will be for you to handle my case to the end? Do you provide a payment plan?
6. Do you have client references that I can contact?

If the attorney is not willing to provide client references that may be a sign that you should move on to another attorney. You need to be confident that your case will be handled professionally and without problems. Your very freedom and future may depend upon it.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of how the fees of the attorney you will be working with will be charged and how you will be allowed to pay for them. There is a large difference between what one attorney may charge and what another may charge for doing what appear to be the same things. However, make sure you understand what will be done on your behalf before making a decision strictly on price. An attorney that may charge you considerably more for a DUI defense may also be the one who plans on looking at the 30 plus ways that the evidence against you may be excluded from trial while the cut-rate attorney may have no intention of looking at the evidence as extensively.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney needs to be done with consideration and care. You want the best possible outcome and hiring the best attorney can help insure that outcome.