How To Find A Criminal Defense Lawyer With 7 Key Questions

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You can’t believe it’s happening to you. There’s a pit in your stomach as the cop starts coming toward you and utters the words “I’m arresting you for a criminal offense.”

Your mind starts racing with thoughts like ” What in the world am I going to do? How is this going to affect my life, freedom, family, job? What can I do to protect myself? How do I decide on the right lawyer so I have the best legal help possible?”

Regrettably, this crisis is a possibility for anyone. Innocent people are charged with crimes as a result of many different circumstances, such as honest mistakes, or overzealous, or malicious actions by others. Good people also make mistakes and choose the wrong course of action in a difficult situation.

Whatever the case is, you sure enough need the best representation you can get.

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All of a Sudden Nothing is More Important

You realize that a conviction will have ruinous effects on your life so it’s important to seek the best attorney you can afford, whether you need an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer (my state) or one who can represent you in another state of the U.S.

And even though you are “under the gun” to hire someone, this decision must be made with care. After all, if your life was threatened in a medical emergency, such as needing brain surgery, you probably wouldn’t want the cheapest doctor to perform it. Moreover, you shouldn’t choose an attorney based on who charges the least. At the same time, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire the most expensive person.

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How Are You Supposed to Pick a Criminal Defense Attorney, then?

Should you hire your brother-in-law’s estate planning lawyer, or the attorney who handled your high school friend’s divorce? What about going to the yellow pages and picking the lawyer on the first page of the attorney listings, or the law firm with a two page ad?

I don’t advocate any of those methods for someone charged with a criminal offense. The problem is that just because someone went to law school and passed the bar exam, that doesn’t mean he or she is effective and experienced in criminal defense. Many have never set foot in a courtroom.

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All Lawyers Are Not the Same

In the medical field there are doctors who specialize in certain parts of the body and so, too, many lawyers concentrate on just a few areas of the law. There are just too many types of law for someone to be an expert in every area.

Think of it this way. Do you really think that someone who spends most of their time writing and negotiating contracts for businesses would be as effective in the courtroom as a lawyer with decades of experience in criminal law?

What’s more, when you hire an expert, you have to expect that the cost is going to be higher than hiring someone else with only a moderate amount of knowledge or experience.

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That leads us to:

7 Key Questions to Find the Right Lawyer for your Criminal Defense

  1. The first question to ask would be simply, How many years has the lawyer practiced criminal law.Someone with a fair number of years of experience, such as 10 years or more, would be preferred. Your future is too important to hand over your defense to a new law school graduate.
  2. The second question you’ll want to learn the answer to will be how many trials has the lawyer handled. This is important because your lawyer should be familiar and confident with the process. There are some so called “criminal lawyers” who rarely, or never go to trial and are known as “settling attorneys”. Many times they aren’t comfortable in trials, and even if it isn’t best for their client, they find a way to settle without going to trial. The prosecution can sense that fear of going to trial, which can have a detrimental effect on possible plea bargaining for the client. Definitely, a lawyer who has tried 50 to 100 or more cases will maintain a stronger bargaining position.
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  1. Another thing you should determine is the number of jury trials the attorney has handled. Additional areas of expertise are needed in jury trial with facets like selecting jurors, and knowing how to be persuasive to jury members. As you can probably guess, more experience with jury trials is better than less. If your lawyer has handled 40 or 50 jury trials, he or she should have learned a lot about strategy in that area.
  1. While you can certainly ask a potential lawyer about his or her experience, an even better way to determine that is is through a reliable certification process. Some states recognize specializations in different areas of law and if a lawyer qualifies according to the state’s requirements, he can reflect that specialization in his marketing and advertising materials. However, many states don’t allow specializations (including my state of Oklahoma). Fortunately, there is a national certification available through the National Board of Trial Advocacy This is a very rigorous certification process, requiring significant experience in criminal trials, a written exam, peer review and recertification every 5 years.
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If a lawyer has achieved this certification, you have an unbiased third party validation of her experience, instead of having to rely simply on what the lawyer says about her ability.

  1. Something else you should ask about is how and when the lawyer will communicate with you. Use the first consultation (which is often free, however be sure to ask ahead of time) to assess whether you will be comfortable and confident handing your case over to this person.
  2. Make sure to ask if the lawyer you think you are hiring will actually be the one who is handling your case. This is important because some firms will have you talk to a lead lawyer initially and then give your case to a newer lawyer in the firm to handle. I believe a criminal charge deserves an experienced and seasoned lawyer, not someone just out of law school.
  3. Ask about the costs involved. Find out whether the lawyer charges an hourly rate or a flat fee. Obviously, it is better for you, the client, to get a flat fee. That way you know exactly how much you need to pay as opposed to being concerned that the lawyer is trying to string things along in order to increase his fees. Also, determine what is covered in the flat fee, such as does that fee cover fees for a trial or will there be additional costs for that?
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Remember if the lawyer’s fee is much lower than others that it could be a red flag.

A much lower fee can mean he is not as experienced (not good for you), or he may handle a high volume of cases. The problem with the high volume situation is that he won’t be able to spend as much time or attention on your case (also not desirable) as the lawyer who takes fewer cases but charges more.

I’ve also known of attorneys who entice clients by stating they will only charge a small amount such as $100.00 to go to court for you. However, they don’t mention that you’ll have to continue to pay them for every phone call or each document they do for you. And, pretty soon the total expense can be higher than a set fee charged by someone else.

A lower fee could also indicate that the lawyer is the “settling” kind of lawyer as I mentioned before, who won’t go to trial even if its in your best interest. And since he knows he won’t ever be going to trial he can charge less, as trials involve significantly more work.

I believe these questions will allow you to become informed in this important decision making process so you can find a criminal defense lawyer who will skillfully protect your rights and freedom.

Ed Geary, Attorney at LawZ

Like a child who has discovered a new toy, this information will open up a whole new world of awe and wonder for you.

If you have been emotional with a crime, you want to save a lawyer immediately. You will want superstar who has expertise in criminal guard because it is a greatly singularized region of the law.

If you can’t offer to hire a lawyer in a criminal guard problem, a lawyer known as a “broadcast guardian” will be appointed for you. However, if you are looking to hire a criminal guard lawyer in exclusive training, one of the best spaces to pioneer your explore is here at lawyers.com.

You can do a boundless explore to come up with a register of lawyers by with the Find A Lawyer explore box that can be accessed anyplace on lawyers.com. (You should see a explore box on the right periphery of your notebook shield.)

We have just reached the tip of the iceberg, as the remainder of this article will help to further your understanding of this complex subject.

If you do a search for a criminal guard lawyer but don’t injure up any names, swell your explore to other close cities. Also, track the explore tips provided in rejoinder to your unsuccessful explore, or click on hunt Help.

Once you are able to injure up a register of lawyers, look at each lawyer’s profile by clicking on his or her name, or by clicking on on the bond to “More tidings . . .” that plays next to each registering. If the lawyer has a Web position, catch it out by clicking on the bond provided in the profile.

Next, use the tracking guidelines to do some first shielding and narrow your register of lawyers down to three or four prospective candidates:

  • Look at biographical tidingsrmation, with suchlike you can find on Web positions for the lawyers and their law hardens. Do they play to have expertise in the region of criminal law that you penury? Do they have any tidingsrmation on their Web positions that is valuable to you? Do they belong to any decent associations in the region of expertise that you penury?
  • Use explores engines to side the Internet. Do explore under the name of each lawyer and his or her law hardens. Can you find any articles; FAQ’s or other tidingsrmational pieces that the lawyer has done that give you a reading of comfort?
  • Ask other people if they have heard of the lawyers and what they think about them.
  • Commerce your aver bar association or outing their Web position to find out if the lawyers are in good footing.
  • Test out the golden pages of your call almanac. Do the lawyers puff? If so, do you find it compelling? Obliging? Classy?
  • Test out the online archives of your limited newspaper. Has there been any broadcasted about the lawyers or the gear that they have handled?
  • Conperipheryr any singular penuries you have. For example, would you promote from an attorney who speaks a words other than English?

Don’t eliminate a lawyer just because he or she didn’t have the time to collect with you on sharp warning. Good lawyers are hectic so they may not be able to waste as greatly time as they would like with prospective clients.

Conperipheryr the lawyer’s baton. Good lawyers have good people running with them and they may emissary a lot of responsibility to their baton. At a slightest, you should expect to be treated courteously and professionally by the baton in a lawyer’s agency.

Criminal guard lawyers will almost forever rush by the hour, or by a dull fee that is allocated up front. Policy of professional conduct for your aver fully probable prohibit a lawyer from incoming into a contingent fee deal for a criminal action. Duty can be competitive so it may be to your promote to store around. However, lawyers with a good reputation in this region are open to rush more. With your boundless Dom perhaps on the line, it may be worthwhile to pay more for a lawyer or a law harden with a great reputation.

You will doubtless want to hire a lawyer with at slightest a few living of experience, and singularly one with experience in the mode of prosecution you are facing, like travel offenses, drug crimes, sex offenses or sallow collar crimes.

Criminal gear is regularly resolved by reason deals with the borough attorney’s agency. This may expect that the lawyer have a good running relationship with the prosecuting attorney, or to at slightest have a reputation that tips sense. Hence, you will want a lawyer who plays frequently in the jurisdiction your container is in: central or aver, and, if aver, in the particular region where you are emotional.

Look to see if a lawyer is affiliated with associations that cater to your penuries, like the subject Association of Criminal argument Lawyers. Most avers have averred organizations that are related, as do many large cities.

Save there are singular circumstances; you will want to hire a lawyer with a limited agency. Because many criminal problems might happen in a jurisdiction where you don’t actually live, you may penury to hire an attorney limited to the criminal prosecution, sooner than limited to your home.

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