If you or a loved one faces criminal charges, it’s imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. However, to choose the best lawyer, you need to find the right criminal defense law firm. Here are ten tips on selecting the right firm so you can get the best criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights.
Here are the tips:
1. Consider Experience
First, you should look to a law firm that has experience in the area of criminal defense. You also want a firm that has dealt explicitly with clients facing the same type of charges you are facing. It also helps to know the answer to the question “What does a criminal defense lawyer do” when you are looking into a firm.
2. Check Reviews
Check the reviews any law firm has received from former clients. You can also check testimonials and case results. You may also want to do a search of a select few law firms you are eyeing on Google and visit websites like Yelp to check client reviews.
3. Check Attorney Ratings
In addition to checking reviews, you should also check ratings for attorneys on Avvo.com. A 10.0 rating on Avvo is considered excellent, but very few get such scores. Such a rating also means they have gotten excellent reviews from their peers, judges and previous clients.
4. Local Court Experience
While law firms need experience to represent clients effectively, they should also have plenty of experience in the local courts. Every court has its own set of procedures and attorneys should know how to maneuver. This makes it essential for them to be familiar with these courts so you can have an edge in your case.
5. One Attorney or a Team?
Any law firm you choose when facing criminal charges should employ multiple lawyers skilled in the area of criminal defense. At the same time, you will want to know whether the firm would use one attorney or a team in your case. Often, a team is better because you will always have plenty of attention dedicated to your situation. If you have a single lawyer, they can be distracted due to handling several cases at once.
6. First Impressions are Often Lasting
Usually, your first impression of a law firm or attorney is a lasting one. For example, if you were unable to get the answers you needed to your questions when you first called a firm or left a message and didn’t hear back from a lawyer for longer than a week, you might want to avoid using that firm. You want a firm and lawyer to be responsive and respect your needs.
7. Communication is Essential
You also want to go with a law firm that is easy to communicate with, including in times of emergencies. Any attorney you consider should provide you not only with their work number but their cell phone number and email address as well. You should also get the email addresses of any other lawyers and staff assigned to your case.
8. Give Your Account of the Events
No matter what law firm you ultimately choose to represent you in your criminal case, you must give your account of the events leading up to your arrest. Don’t omit any details, and always be honest. You should also inform the firm of your background and provide a list of character witnesses and provide a list of witnesses in your case.
9. Never Expect Guarantees
If a law firm makes a guarantee that they will have the charges against you dropped, you should avoid it. The best criminal defense firms never make such promises. The factors surrounding your case, evidence, witnesses and more determine the outcome instead.
10. Compare Rates and Get it in Writing
Always compare the rates offered by various law firms. You should never expect a low fee but should avoid going with the most expensive one as well. Attorneys should explain their costs, and before hiring any law firm, you should get a contract in writing. Always inquire about fee schedules and payment plan options before you hire an attorney.