Hiring a Criminal Attorney – What You Should Expect
When it comes to hiring a criminal attorney, the average defendant doesn’t know exactly what he or she should be looking for. Often, it simply comes down to a recommendation or an ad in the yellow pages. While there is nothing wrong with these methods, you should make sure you get what you’re paying for. Hiring a defense lawyer is about much more than simply having someone to file paperwork. There is a minimum standard you should expect from your lawyer. If he isn’t giving it to you, think about finding someone else.
Protecting Your Rights
One of the most important roles of the criminal attorney is protecting the rights of his client. The justice system would not function were it not for these rights, which are inalienable. If they have been trampled, it is up to your lawyer to bring this to light, whether it be to the jail, the judge, or before the jury.
A criminal attorney should spend an appropriate amount of time reviewing the evidence given over to the defense during discovery and finding ways to combat this evidence in court. He should also become an investigator in his own right, looking for exculpatory evidence and witnesses who will testify on your behalf.
Not all charges result in a trial. Depending on your wishes and the amount of evidence stacked against you, it may very well be in your best interests to negotiate a plea deal. Prosecutors are typically happy to work something out, saving them the time, cost, and risk of a trial. If you have a lawyer who knows how to negotiate, you’ll get a much better deal.
Too many lawyers go into court cold. This means they don’t do any pre-interviewing of the witnesses. Some don’t even bother to run over testimony with their own witnesses. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and it often makes the defense look ill prepared in front of the jury. If you notice that your criminal attorney isn’t conducting any interviews, you could be in for a letdown.
Naturally, it’s impossible to list all of the things you should expect out of a good criminal attorney, but this is a good starting point. Perhaps more than anything else, you should expect your lawyer to believe in you and be willing to do anything within the realm of the law to get you the best possible outcome. If you get the feeling that this isn’t the case, you might want to switch representation before it’s too late.