If you are facing a criminal charge or charges, hiring a lawyer is important. The criminal justice system can be complex, especially for a newbie. There are a lot of developments that can culminate in a conviction. The consequences of criminal convictions can affect you years after you have served your punishment. For example, following a criminal conviction, it may be challenging to find and hold a job or seek higher education at accredited institutions. Financial strain due to lack of available opportunities is also not uncommon. Having a Norwood Law Firm / criminal law attorney in Oklahoma beside you from the start to the end of your case can improve your chances of walking free. This is because a good lawyer has the experience and the skills necessary to form a solid defense for you. Your lawyer is able to create a defense angle with the evidence at hand which they feel would best work for you.
While having an attorney is essential, choosing the right one is even more so. When you have the right attorney, you can rest assured that they will serve your best interests while protecting your rights. To choose the right attorney from the multiple options available to you, below are some important questions to ask.
Ask These Questions To Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?
Experience and exposure are two important things to look for when choosing a criminal defense lawyer to handle your legal needs. The more years the attorney has practiced, the more you will expect them to be familiar with the court processes and how to manage your criminal case.
Choosing an attorney that has practiced in the criminal law space for years comes with many advantages. First, you can get a fair rating of the attorney based on the number of criminal cases they have handled and their success record. You can also expect that the lawyer would have built valuable connections and networks that will improve the chances of success in your case. Criminal lawyers with years of experience are also expected to have the ability to anticipate legal strategies and actions from the prosecuting counsel. This inside knowledge can be used to build an air-tight case in your defense.
While you are hunting for a criminal defense lawyer that has years of experience, you should also prioritize the area of specialization. A criminal lawyer with 30 years of experience in a field that is irrelevant to your case isn’t worth much to you.
What Are Your Educational And Professional Credentials?
When hiring just about anyone for a job, you are bound to ask where they trained from and what qualifications they have in relation to the position required. The same is applicable when choosing a lawyer. Your choice of criminal defense lawyer should have graduated from a reputable institution. Some institutions are known for renowned programs, and you can gauge your lawyer’s authority using this as one of the criteria.
Have You Handled Cases Like Mine In The Past?
No two cases are the same. However, criminal defense lawyers who have handled cases similar to yours in the past are better equipped to anticipate what is to come and set expectations accordingly. Criminal lawyers who have never dealt with a case like yours are more likely to find themselves out of their depth which can jeopardize your future. You should look for an attorney that is at least one step ahead of the prosecution. This gives you an advantage and increases the chance of getting a positive outcome in your case.
What Is Your Success Rate?
Choosing an attorney that has been practicing for years isn’t the only criteria to watch out for; ask what the criminal defense lawyer’s success rate is. Lawyers who have a high success rate offer an implicit guarantee that they will do everything in their legal power to get you a positive outcome. The higher the success rate, the better the chances of walking free.
Are There Testimonials From Past Clients I Can Read?
Customer reviews have become a big part of consumer decisions. When selecting a criminal defense lawyer, you need to take a peek into the world of their past clients. Defense lawyers with bad reviews from past clients offer you a chance to move in another direction. Reading reviews also give you answers to some questions, including the attorney’s approach to handling cases, what communication throughout the case will look like, and more.
How Often Do You Take Cases To Trial?
The criminal justice system can be tiring. The stages involved in a criminal proceeding can become overwhelming and financially draining. In most instances, settling cases out of court is a way to cut back on the cost of the legal process while also reducing the time taken to complete the case. Cases that go to trial often take long before sentencing is pronounced. If you wish to get out of the criminal proceeding as fast as possible, you should ask to know how your attorney handles plea bargains and alternative sentencing.
A plea bargain allows you to plead guilty for a lesser crime and serve lesser punishment compared to the charges against you. Your criminal defense lawyer is in the best position to negotiate the best plea deals. However, if you wish for your case to go to trial, you will need an attorney that has extensive experience handling criminal trials. With criminal trials, your attorney may be able to get the charges against you dropped, but it is not guaranteed.
Will You Be The One Working On My Case?
Some law firms offer you a chance to meet with a top attorney but may not guarantee that the top attorney will handle your case. To increase the chance of success, you want as many experienced attorneys on your case versus junior legal staff. Ask if the attorney will be handling your case specifically. Also, ask to know whether the attorney will be working alone or as part of a team. If the law firm is taking a team approach, ask to meet other team members. Knowing who is handling your case and who to contact when you need to speak with someone will put your mind at ease. Having a legal team of experienced lawyers work on your case can also inspire a higher level of confidence.
These are some of the questions to ask your attorney if you are looking to make the right choice. While these questions may seem a little bit intrusive, remember that you are letting someone into your case (and life for that matter) and trusting them to help you successfully navigate the justice system. You shouldn’t have to spend time in jail because you did not do diligence when hiring your lawyer.