Jobs for lawyers throughout the US could grow by 8% between 2016 and 2026. If you were recently charged with criminal charges, it helps to vet your options. Otherwise, you could struggle to fight the charges against you.
Instead, keep reading for the eight tips you need to find the best criminal defense attorney in your area. With these tips, you can choose an experienced, qualified attorney. They’ll fight with your best interests in mind.
Otherwise, you could risk choosing an attorney who lacks the criminal law experience you need.
Find a winning attorney you can count on. Start your search for the best attorney around with these eight easy tips today.
1. Ask for Referrals
First, talk to people in your inner circle. Ask if any of them have hired a criminal defense attorney in the past. If they have, ask about their experience.
Was the lawyer knowledgeable, professional, and able to help? Were they confident in their own abilities?
Speaking with people you trust can help you find a lawyer you trust. Otherwise, your inner circle can at least help you narrow down your options.
If you can’t find a personal referral for a criminal defense attorney, that’s okay. Instead, ask friends and family if they’ve hired a lawyer for a different purpose. For example, maybe they filed a personal injury claim.
Ask about the law firm they hired. Does the law firm handle criminal charges, too?
You can also research your options for legal representation by heading online. Google “best criminal defense attorney near me.” You can also visit this website to start your search.
Explore your local bar association website and the Martindale-Hubbel directory, too. Then, make a list of potential options for attorneys.
You can use the rest of these tips to narrow down your options to find the one attorney you need.
2. Look for Experience
There are over 61,000 criminal lawyers and attorneys in the US. Not everyone has the experience you can depend on, though.
Most people learn from hands-on experience and time. As you research your options for attorneys, look for years of experience.
First, determine how long each lawyer has practiced overall. Look for someone who has practiced for at least a decade. You’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re knowledgeable and experienced.
Then, determine how long each lawyer has specialized in criminal defense law. Make sure they have years of experience with the right specialty. Otherwise, they might not understand the laws and procedures relevant to your claim.
Make sure they have local experience, too.
Specific laws and procedures can vary based on your location. You can feel confident in a lawyer with local experience. They’ll have a better understanding of the laws that are relevant to your case.
An attorney who lacks criminal law experience, however, could make mistakes handling your case. They might reference outdated laws and cases, too.
Ask each lawyer if they’ve handled a case that was similar to yours in the past. What legal strategy did they use for that case? What was the outcome of that case?
You can learn more about each lawyer’s ability to handle your case by discussing their recent experiences. If they haven’t handled a case similar to yours in the past, keep searching.
3. Consider Their Qualities
It’s not enough to find a lawyer with criminal law experience. Instead, take a moment to consider each lawyer as a person, too. Which skills and qualities stand out?
For example, it’s important to find a strong communicator. After all, the lawyer will need to speak on your behalf. If they can’t communicate in front of a judge and jury, scratch them off your list.
Look for an ethical lawyer, too. Otherwise, their practices could get you in more trouble than you’re already in.
Make sure they’re responsive as well. If they don’t respond to your calls, there’s a chance they’re too busy to focus on your case.
4. Check Their Credentials
Before choosing the best criminal defense attorney on your list, visit your local bar association website. Make sure each lawyer on your list is licensed to practice in the state. Ask if they have any additional certifications, too.
Their credentials could better indicate their abilities.
5. Request References and Reviews
Ask at least three attorneys on your list for references and reviews. Try to speak with a few of the lawyer’s recent clients. Then, ask the client about their experience working with that attorney.
Was the attorney able to reduce the charges? Was the client able to avoid jail time?
Ask the client if they would choose the same lawyer in the future, too.
You can also find reviews on the law firm’s Google My Business or BBB listings.
Make sure the lawyer you choose doesn’t have any complaints filed against them.
6. Schedule a Consultation
Schedule a free consultation appointment with at least three lawyers on your list. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask ahead of time. For example, you can discuss the lawyer’s:
- Experience and area of expertise
- Trial strategy
- Fees and payment schedule
- Track record
Ask each lawyer if they believe they’re the right attorney to take your case. Are they confident in their own abilities? Ask what outcome they anticipate for your case, too.
Make sure the lawyer you speak with is the one who will handle your case. Will they hand you off to someone else at their law firm?
Ask about their current caseload, too. If they’re juggling too many cases at once, they might not dedicate time to your case.
7. Look for Courtroom Experience
Make sure the lawyer you choose has extensive courtroom experience.
Some lawyers are nervous about going to court. They might accept a plea deal to avoid it.
Instead, choose a lawyer who will fight for your best interests.
8. Consider the Cost
Make sure to ask each lawyer about their fee structure. Will they charge you based on an hourly or fixed rate?
Review their contract before signing on the dotted line.
If you want to find the best criminal defense attorney for your case, don’t rush your search. Instead, use these eight tips to vet your options. With these tips, you can find someone with the criminal law experience you need.
You’ll have an easier time reviewing your options for attorneys, too.