Hiring a Criminal Attorney: Questions You Should Ask
Many times, when a person finds themselves charged with a crime, they tend to simply hire a criminal attorney in the easiest way they know how. If that means accepting the public defender or finding the first one in the phone book (or that comes to see them after they’ve been charged), that’s what they do. But considering the stakes involved (and many times they are high indeed), shouldn’t you put a bit more thought into it than that? Without the proper representation in court, you might not fully understand the legal processes involved in a case, and you may not be fully aware of the options available to you.
In fact, many courts may try to get you to plead one way or another before you’ve had a change to seek representation. In order to protect your rights and navigate a trial successfully, you will need a seasoned and skillful lawyer. Besides shopping around to see who has the best reputation, here are some questions you should ask any potential lawyer you are thinking of hiring.
What Is Your Experience?
This is one of the most important pieces of information you can glean from any criminal attorney. While everyone has to start out somewhere, chances are you don’t want your case to be your lawyer’s training ground. Finding out about experience is about more than simply determining how long they’ve been out of law school, however. It means finding out how many cases of your type they’ve tried. Each type of crime requires a very specific set of skills and a different type of defense. Make sure your lawyer has the weaponry and skill necessary to make your case a success.
What Are Your Fees?
It’s important to get your criminal attorney to be very explicit when discussing how much your defense will cost. Whether they charge by the hour, by the day, or a one time fee for the entire defense, you need to know how much money you will be expected to pay. If you aren’t very sure about the fee schedule ahead of time, you could easily wind up in over your head when it comes to your financial situation. Lawyers don’t come cheap, so don’t kid yourself about being able to afford more than you can.
Are You Willing To Go To Trial?
Whatever your plans might happen to be for your particular case, you need to know that your criminal attorney has it in them to take your case to the finish line if that’s what needs to happen. Don’t hire a lawyer who only knows how to negotiate plea deals if you are planning to protest your guilt. A good lawyer and a good trial lawyer are two entirely different things. Having said that, they are both somewhat rare. As long as you take your time, do some research, and ask the right questions, you should be able to find someone who can represent you well.