The defense attorney you choose when facing criminal charges is very important. You need to select the best representation possible. This means you need to know a little about lawyers. Here are eight questions to ask before hiring a defense attorney.
Have You Handled This Type of Case in the Past?
The first question should be whether the defense attorney has handled your specific type of case before. There is a large difference between defending someone against drunk driving charges and mounting a defense against assault charges. Choose a lawyer who has handled your specific charges before.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?
You want a lawyer who has a good amount of experience in the field of criminal defense. Ask how long the attorney has been practicing criminal law. The lawyer should have at least several years of experience to give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.
What Is Your Success Record?
Ask the attorney about his or her overall success record. You want a rough percentage of clients the attorney has managed to defend successfully against criminal charges. The success record should be relatively high. Stay away from lawyers who cannot answer this question adequately.
What Is Your Current Caseload?
You want an attorney who will dedicate a large amount of time and resources to your defense. An overworked lawyer might not be very effective. Ask if the lawyer currently has a large caseload. Try to pick a defense attorney who is not burdened with dozens of other clients so that you can receive more attention.
Have You Gone Through Many Jury Trials?
About 97 percent of all criminal trials end with the defendant pleading guilty in some way just to avoid the harshest penalties. You might not want to do this before trial starts. Not all attorneys are used to criminal trials since most people reach plea deals first. Ask if your lawyer has gone through many jury trials. The answer should be yes so that you can easily go to trial if a deal cannot be brokered.
Will You Be Handling My Case?
It is common in many law firms to allow new clients to talk to a veteran attorney only to have the case be passed on to a less experienced lawyer later. Ask if the attorney you are talking to will be handling the defense. You want the answer to be yes.
Do You Handle Primarily Criminal Cases?
In the 75 largest counties in the country, just under 18 percent of criminal defendants have a private lawyer instead of a court-appointed attorney. This means many lawyers practice criminal law secondarily behind family or corporate law. Ask if the attorney handles primarily criminal cases. You really want a lawyer that is mainly focused on criminal defense instead of other areas of the law.
How Can I Contact You?
Ask how you will be able to contact the lawyer later. You want an attorney you can contact easily at any time with questions or concerns. Avoid picking a lawyer who will only contact you since you might not hear from that person for a long time.