Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Any individual charged with a crime should choose the right criminal defense lawyer to increase his or her odds of a favorable outcome. The individual should start by determining his or her legal needs, deciding whether to hire a federal or state attorney, and searching for an attorney who has focused his or her practice in definite areas of defense. He or she should also consider the qualities that matter, perform due diligence, and book an initial consultation. By following these steps anyone accused of a crime can find the right criminal attorney.
Step 1: Determining the Legal Needs
Regardless of the nature and magnitude of a person’s criminal charge, seeking legal assistance is crucial. Even if he or she doesn’t hire an attorney, an initial consultation will give the accused person an insight into his or her legal needs. Anyone charged with a serious crime is strongly advised to hire a competent defense attorney before appearing in court.
Step 2: Deciding Whether to Choose a State Attorney or a Federal Attorney
Depending on the case, the accused person may require either a state attorney or a federal attorney. If the accused violated state law, he or she must search for criminal defense attorneys who handle that specific state’s law. If he or she infringed the constitution or copyright, hiring a federal attorney will be the best bet.
Step 3: Looking for Attorneys Who Have Focused on Specific Areas of Defense
Most attorneys focus their practice on clearly defined areas of defense. Depending on his or her legal needs, the accused person may gravitate towards a criminal attorney who has concentrated on a specific area of practice. A person with a DWI charge, for instance, will improve his or her odds of getting a favorable result by hiring a DUI lawyer with a stellar record of handling DUI/DWI cases. Discussing with a potential criminal attorney about his or her areas of defense can help a person charged with a crime make an informed decision.
Step 4: The Qualities that Matter
The accused person should consider the must-have qualities. Trust is essential when it comes to working with a criminal attorney. Other important qualities to consider include communication skills, responsiveness, enthusiasm, court confidence, and ethics. In short, the accused person should ensure the attorney meets what he or she considers important.
Step 5: Performing Due Diligence
A quick Google search of criminal attorneys in a specific area will reveal several pages with competent attorneys. Reviewing these results, checking whether they are registered with professional organizations, going through testimonials, and seeking referrals can increase the chances of a person accused of a crime finding the best fit. He or she should also check their names on the State Bar website to verify if they are licensed to practice criminal law.
Step 6: Scheduling a Meeting
Most criminal attorneys don’t charge initial consultations. After listing down a few potential attorneys to represent him or her, the accused person should schedule an initial consultation so he or she can compare them and select the right attorney for his or her needs.