At some point in your life, you may need to hire a criminal defense attorney. In fact, nearly 30% of Americans have had a run in with the criminal justice system. Regardless of the circumstances facing your case, it may be in your best interest to hire the help of a criminal defense lawyer to help mitigate the consequences of the charges.
When it comes to selecting a criminal defense attorney, a lot of factors go into play: time, finances, goals and ideal outcomes can strongly influence you may hire to protect your legal rights. In order to find the right criminal attorney for your specific case, it is vital to ask the following questions:
1. What is your response rate?
Before agreeing to hire a lawyer, you should know how often you will be able to get a hold of him or her. Will you be talking to office managers and paralegals? Will you have the direct phone number of your attorney? Do they answer calls after hours? Can you send a text?
Finding the right attorney means finding someone who you feel you can be honest with and get a hold of when needed. Be straightforward with what you expect out of your lawyer.
2. Can you help me achieve my ideal outcome?
Clearly stating your ideal outcome for your case can help both parties take a look at what is to come. If the criminal defense attorney can’t achieve your goal, ask what other solutions they may be able to help with. Varying sentencing alternatives may include “more lenient punishment, such as lesser jail time, public work service, substance abuse treatment, suspended sentences, anger management,” note defense attorneys at The Law Firm of George H. Ramos, Jr.
A good criminal defense attorney should be able to show you the roadmap to achieving your goal or inform you when it may not be possible.
3. How much do you charge?
If you choose to hire an attorney based solely off their price tag, you will most likely be disappointed. Be sure to do your research regarding the average prices for an attorney in your specific area; rates can be competitive.
Ask if a lawyer charges by the hour or if the lawyer has a flat fee. Also ask what may be the total price once your case is closed. Be sure to clarify if you will need to pay a retainer fee, and if there are any other potential expenses that may be associated with your case. Some firms charge for the work the staff does on behalf of a client in addition to the lawyers fees.
4. Who will be working on my case?
If you decide to retain a law firm, confirm who will be working on your case. Some cases may be passed down to less experienced attorneys who may need more time to work on your case. Some more experienced attorneys may charge more per hour, but can get your case resolved quicker.
Ask who will be working on your specific case and who will be your main point of contact. Doing so can prevent a larger headache down the road.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an incredibly important decision that should not be taken lightly. A criminal defense attorney will be your legal representative to help protect your legal rights and fight for your freedom. When it comes to hiring a defense attorney, be sure to utilize these 4 questions to ensure you are able to hire the best lawyer possible for your unique case.