When you’re charged with a criminal offense, the first thing you’ll need to do is to arrange to have your bail paid. This is important because it will make it easier for you to find the right attorney to handle your defense. Since your freedom is at stake, it’s important to find the best criminal defense attorney to handle your case. This guide can help you.
1 Look For Experience
When hiring any type of professional, it's always recommended to hire someone with experience. However, when considering criminal defense attorneys, you want more than just general experience in representing clients. While a drug charges attorney may have 25 years of experience, that expertise won't do much for you if you're charged with murder or embezzlement. To get the best possible representation, you should limit your search to those attorneys who have the specific type of experience that's related to your charges. Specialized experience will ensure your attorney is familiar with the issues that commonly arise in those types of cases. For instance, an attorney who primarily handles drug charges will know how search and seizure laws apply to the evidence in your case. That knowledge may help your attorney get a more favorable outcome for you.
2 Check Previous Client Reviews
Once you have a list of potential attorneys to hire, you can start narrowing your choices down by determining the quality of service each lawyer provides. One of the best ways of doing this is to read reviews and testimonials left by each attorney's former clients. You can start by visiting the website for each law firm to see what testimonials previous clients have submitted. To get a less biased sampling of reviews, you should look for reviews on third-party sites, such as Google or social media websites. You should expect to see some negative reviews for any lawyer you research, but more negative than positive reviews suggests that the attorney may not provide good service. In reading negative reviews, pay attention to complaints that come up frequently in different reviews as this indicates a common problem. For example, if several previous clients state that they have had trouble getting in touch with the attorney, this is an issue you can also expect if you hire that attorney.
3 Check Qualifications
You should also take the time to verify that each attorney is qualified and licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction as you search for the best criminal defense attorney. This is easier to do in the digital age by checking the bar association website for your state. You can also send an email to the bar association to ask about the attorney's past. In particular, ask if the attorney has ever been disciplined or sued for legal malpractice. An attorney with a history of lawsuits and sanctions may not be an ethically bound attorney. In that case, you should consider looking for a different attorney.
4 Analyze Track Records
While the initial consultation is an opportunity to evaluate the strength of your case, it's also a chance for you to determine the level of skill and qualifications possessed by the attorney. You can measure the lawyer's competence by asking about their case load and inquiring about how many cases they have settled out of court. You should also ask about the number of trials they have won versus those they have lost. An attorney who settles most of their cases out of court suggests someone who may avoid a trial at all costs, while an attorney who rarely settles suggests an aggressive attorney who may not know when it's better to compromise. Ideally, the attorney you hire should have a good mix of settlements and trial victories.
As you begin consulting with criminal defense lawyers, pay attention to how you feel about each attorney. While qualifications and reputation do matter, you should also feel as though you can trust your lawyer. They will be responsible for helping you get the best possible outcome in your case, so you should feel confident in their ability to defend you.