If you were recently arrested for or charged with a crime – no matter how minor or major – it is imperative to speak with a lawyer and discuss your legal options. Depending on your financial situation, you should consider hiring a private criminal defense attorney.
Keep in mind, there are a wide variety of lawyers who handle criminal cases. Since there are so many available, the task of choosing which one is suited for you can be daunting.
The following are considerations and suggestions which may help you make the right selection:
- Years of experience. The number of years a lawyer has been practicing criminal defense is a crucial factor. You need to ask how much experience the attorney has defended against the type of criminal offense you’ve been charged with. Furthermore, ask them for client testimony and case results to evaluate their rate of success.
- Practice areas. A lawyer who focuses on criminal defense is more likely to be currently up-to-date on state criminal law and familiar with criminal courtroom proceedings.
- Local reputation. As mentioned above, you want a criminal defense attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of the state legal system. In addition, a lawyer who regularly practices in a specific area is more likely to have developed a relationship with the prosecutors and judges and their tendencies.
- Attorney fees. It is imperative to know how much you’ll be paying for your case ahead of time to avoid future disputes. Lawyers either charge an hourly fee or a flat rate. An attorney who charges an hourly rate will bill you based on the time spent working on the case, while flat-rate fees mean a set amount for your entire case.
- Who’ll be handling your case. If you hire a law firm with multiple lawyers, it is important to ask who will be responsible for your case and coming to court with you.