Being charged with a crime can be a stressful situation; depending on the severity of the crime, you could face anything from hefty fines and probation to prison time. This is where having the right criminal defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Any reputable criminal defense office should offer free case evaluations, so now is a good time to begin setting up these appointments. With each consultation, there are a few key questions worth asking that can help you determine whether a specific defense attorney is a good fit for you.
What Type of Criminal Law Do You Practice?
Criminal law is a broad practice, so be sure to find out the specific areas of expertise offered by your criminal defense office. Larger offices will usually have a team of lawyers who focus on different areas of criminal law. Ideally, you'll want to find one who not only has lots of experience with your type of case, but also a proven track record of success in getting these types of charges reduced or dropped.
Will I Work Directly With You?
With larger criminal defense offices, you may actually end up being represented by a different lawyer than the one you initially meet with during your consultation. You might not actually know who will be representing you on the day of your trial until the day of. If you'd prefer to be in contact with the same lawyer throughout the entire process, you may be better suited to find a smaller criminal defense law office.
How Would You Approach My Case?
After you discuss the details of your case, it's important to get a solid understanding of how your defense lawyer would approach it. Which aspects of your case will work against you, and which might work in your favor? Would your lawyer pursue having your charges dropped or plead out? The answers to these questions are key to finding a lawyer who will work well with you.
How Does Your Fee Schedule Work?
Defense lawyers can also vary in how they charge for their services. Some will require an up-front deposit/retainer, whereas others may advertise that you don't pay anything until your case is settled. Make sure you're familiar with and comfortable with the fee schedule offered by your lawyer before you move forward. Some lawyers also offer payment plans if you're worried about being able to afford their services.
Keep these factors in mind as you begin contacting local criminal law offices.