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If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, then you could face very serious consequences if you are not able to defend yourself against these allegations. Finding a good criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between getting your life back, or possibly spending years in prision. Use the following tips to make sure that you are hiring the best possible attorney who can help you get the best outcome for your case.
1. Choose a firm that has experience handling your particular charge
There are a wide range of specialties within that criminal defense. Are you being charged with white collar crime? Do the allegations involve drugs or domestic issues? You must find an attorney familiar with the legal nuances regarding your type of case specifically if you want to have a favorable outcome. Most attorneys offer a free consultation. Ask specific questions about any cases they may have handled in the past with similar allegations. Ask about the details and the outcome.
2. Make sure the firm or attorney has experience in the local courts.
When hiring an attorney, it is essential that the firm representing you is familiar with the district attorney’s office, judges and other players in the county legal system. Different judges may respond more favorably to certain types of approach and only an attorney who has worked with this particular judge previously will know how best to approach them with your particular situation. Generally, this will mean that the attorney has a full-time practice in your city. Rural areas often have visiting attorneys who serve the area part time. The important thing is that they are comfortable in your local court.
3. Check out their attorney profile on Avvo, Justia and other legal rating sites.
While an attorney can easily make claims regarding how well they do their job, you need to know the facts. You can visit these websites to find out what the reputation is of each member of the firm and the firm itself. This will allow you to find out some pertinent information about them such as peer endorsements, education, practice areas and their standing with the bar.
4. Read reviews of former clients.
Avvo and Justia also include reviews from previous clients. Scan through these to hear from others about their experiences. Keep in mind that you should never depend on the average rating alone. Sometimes folks leave grades unrelated to the service.
In the instance of a criminal defense attorney, you might find poor ratings left by folks who are upset they were caught committing a crime or that they had to do some jail time.
5. Understand pricing and how attorney fees work.
When you are speaking to the law firms you are considering, make sure that you understand how much money you must pay up front, when and how you will be charged additionally and the expectations regarding future charges.
Being in a legal predicament with charges hanging over your head is a very frightening situation to be in. Don’t try to navigate the legal system alone. You need to find the best help that you can to work through the situation and ensure the best possible outcome.