6 Important Tips for Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
Did you know there were almost 805,000 lawyers in the United States in 2020?
With so many people out there, it's important to know what you're looking for during the hiring process — especially when it comes to a criminal defense attorney. No matter why you're hiring one, you want to make sure they're going to be the best person for your case. Luckily, we're here to help.
Read on to learn six of the most important things you should be on the lookout for.
- Know Their Specialty
When you're searching for an attorney, it's important to look for a criminal defense lawyer. It's also important, however, to find an attorney who can cover your case specifically.
Working with a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense is important because they'll be up-to-date on the latest legislation, sanctions, and other changes that might affect your case. On the other hand, when you know your attorney has experience with similar clients, it's a lot easier to know they'll have your case covered.
- Do They Know the Lay of the Land?
Is your attorney familiar with local courts? Networking is important in any profession, but it's especially important in law. It might not sound ideal, but having a well-established lawyer with local relations and connections can help a lot in winning your case.
Each court, and even judge, has a different process. When you work with an attorney familiar with both these things, you place yourself at a much greater advantage from the very beginning.
If you Google "domestic violence lawyers near me," be sure to keep an eye out for someone local with a lot of experience.
- Ensure Responsiveness
The court's time is limited. You want to make sure your lawyer is both proactive and thorough, and you want to make sure they're good at those two things. It's easy for anyone to get caught up in a busy schedule and miss small details, but it's different when you're working through a court case.
A lawyer that can juggle it all will be sure to reach out to you with any questions they have, and they'll remain diligent about regular contact. If you hire your lawyer and then find that they're nowhere to be seen, it's important to find a new one before your day in court.
- How Confident Are They?
Your lawyer should also be confident in their abilities as an attorney.
They need to be persuasive and convincing during your trial, and you put yourself at risk when you work with someone who isn't confident enough to do that. It's important to convince the jury that you're innocent, and if they don't feel that your lawyer is being honest, they're likely to think you're guilty.
A great way to know you're working with someone confident is to find someone with experience. When you match up experience with someone who knows their way around a local courtroom, you're giving yourself a very good fighting chance.
How to Tell
It's easy to tell your lawyer's confidence level upon meeting them. If they greet you with a firm handshake, carry themselves well, and make plenty of eye contact during your conversation, those are all signs they're confident in themselves and their abilities.
You can also pay attention to how they dress and how they speak. Whether it's small talk or questions about your case, being well-spoken is a great sign of professionalism. If they're dressed poorly and you find that they're fumbling throughout your consultation, it might be best to move on.
- Check Their References
When you're reading through a lawyer's online reviews, it's important to be thorough. Don't just read the initial reviews on their homepage and think they're flawless, because they're not. Look to other resources like Google or Facebook to get a full picture.
Bad reviews don't necessarily mean a bad lawyer, but it's good to have clarity before you hire someone.
You can also ask for references from the lawyer themselves. This is a tell-tale sign of their transparency, and it can be the key to deciding whether or not you trust them. That's not where you should stop, though.
Be sure to reach out to the references they give you to do some vetting. While they're not likely to lie to you, it's important to not assume. Have a list of general questions to ask these references, and then specific ones you'd like to elaborate on with each person (if there are any).
The more thorough you are during this step, the better.
- Transparency Is Key
A trustworthy criminal defense firm is going to be upfront about its pricing. You're likely to find that some lawyers try to get more money by not clearly explaining their fees, and then charge more than you thought they would.
That's why it's important to get a written contract before hiring a lawyer and to also ensure that nothing changes between your original conversation and the document itself. This binds your agreement and protects you from potential extra costs and fees. It also keeps the lawyer from refusing services that were already offered to you.
Ready to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
It's important to know all the qualities you're searching for in a criminal defense attorney before you get started. When you can search with intention, it becomes a lot easier to narrow down your options. From there, finding the perfect one for your case is a cinch.
For more court and lawyer tips, check out the rest of our website.
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