What Questions Should I Ask When Hiring My Criminal Defense Attorney?
Perhaps you’re wondering, “Do I need an attorney, and if so, how do I go about finding the right one with so many to choose from?”
As you go through the process of interviewing attorneys to take on your case, consider the asking the following questions of each before hiring one criminal defense attorney.
Ask the Criminal Defense Attorney If They Offer a Free Consultation
Before you can know for sure if an attorney will be the right hire for you to help you with your case, you want to meet with them face to face and get to know them and their methods better.
A 5-minute phone call isn’t enough to get an accurate fee quote or to get advice for moving forward. Neither is it enough time for you to know if you’re likely to feel comfortable working with this attorney for the next few months.
This is why it’s important to look for someone who offers a free consultation.
During this consultation, you and the criminal defense attorney should be able to discuss the specific facts of your case, the charges made against you, some of the details of the arrest, and your criminal history if you have one.
After the initial, free consultation, the attorney you’re considering should be in a better position to give you more specific answers to your questions about how to proceed with your case. You’ll also get a sense of your trust level with this lawyer and if you’d feel comfortable and confident working with him or her moving forward.
Is the Attorney’s Practice Focused on Criminal Law?
Many doctors focus on a specific area of medicine, but a lawyer with a license in law can technically be allowed to represent anyone regardless of the type of case. This is the reason you’ll see many lawyers who work in general practice. This is a way of stating themselves as a jack of all trades. They may know a little bit about a lot of different areas of the law.
If you’re asking yourself, do I need a criminal attorney? and you decide that you do, it’s best to go with someone with specific experience in doing just that.
Seek an attorney who is focused on practicing criminal law daily and has represented many other clients in similar positions as yourself. A general practitioner can’t beat the experience of an attorney who has handled dozens and dozens of criminal law cases in the past.
Ask About Their Legal Fees
Before you hire a criminal defense attorney, you want to be sure what you’re getting yourself into upfront when it comes to legal fees. Of course, you want to find someone experienced and trustworthy to handle your case, but you don’t want to commit to hiring an attorney with legal fees so high that you end up in hot water financially.
Ask the attorney you’re considering upfront about their legal fees and how much it’s going to cost you to work with them.
Ask whether they charge on an hourly basis or on a fixed or flat fee. If they work on an hourly basis, keep in mind that if your case is complicated and takes many hours over the course of months to solve, it could end up costing you a lot.
If you opt for an attorney that works on a flat fee or fixed fee, you’ll have a better understanding upfront how much the legal fees are going to cost you and there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Ask About Their Experience With Cases Similar to Your Own
When you’re going through the process of interviewing attorneys, the best route is to look for one who has already handled many cases similar to your own. This will be a great advantage for you.
If your attorney has already defended many others with a similar case, he or she will know how to approach it with confidence and strategy so that you can better hope for the best possible outcome. It’s easier and less stressful for you if your attorney isn’t having to learn on the job and figure out what to do as they go.
Be cautious of any attorney that makes a guarantee toward a specific result. Some attorneys will attempt to make promises in an attempt to convince clients to hire them.
There are no guarantees in the law where so many variables come into play. Not only that, but it’s unethical for anyone to make a promise they can’t keep.
Ask Who Will Be Handling Your Case
Too often someone will interview a highly experienced lawyer with lots of experience only to show up in court and find that the lawyer they expected isn’t there. Instead, they might find a young associate has shown up instead. Ask upfront who you can expect to handle your case.
The most experienced lawyers can’t take on every case, but if they’re planning on having someone else at the firm handle your case, you deserve to know about it. Make sure you know the background of the lawyer who will be handling your case so you can make an informed decision before proceeding.
Find Other Useful Legal Tips
This article has helped you learn some good questions to ask of any criminal defense attorney before choosing one to hire. Having the right attorney on your team makes all the difference.
Continue to discover useful content for helping you make important decisions, by browsing our website for other insightful articles. And be sure to check back often for new content.