10 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
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Believe it or not, more than 10 million people are arrested in the United States each year. That statistic might surprise you, and yet it’s a reality that everyone needs to be aware of. Because it’s important to understand what to do if you suddenly find yourself behind bars. Getting arrested for a crime doesn’t prove that you’re guilty, it simply means that you’re going to need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.
Fortunately, this article can help. Here we take a look at the most important questions to ask before hiring a criminal defense attorney when you need skilled legal help. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Is Criminal Law Your Area of Specialty?
It’s important to understand that every law firm specializes in a different area of law. For example, a firm may specialize in criminal law, civil rights law, environmental law, or personal injury law, just to name a few.
Make sure to choose the right type of lawyer for your case. Otherwise, you won’t get the level of legal representation needed to win your case.
2. How Much Experience Do You have?
Always choose a law firm with as much experience in criminal defense as possible. This doesn’t mean that younger lawyers can’t provide quality defense, but it’s impossible to overstate the value of a defense team with decades of experience fighting for the rights of their clients.
3. Have You Handled Many Cases Like Mine?
You might think that your case is unique, but experienced criminal defense lawyers have seen just about every type of situation you could imagine. The key to getting the best representation possible is to ask potential law firms how often they’ve handled cases similar to yours. This will help you see that they might be the right team for the job.
4. How Strong Is My Case?
When hiring a law firm to handle your criminal defense case, it’s crucial to choose a team that is confident that they can win. Thus they will need to be confident that you have a strong case.
So if a firm doesn’t seem confident that they can deliver a not-guilty verdict, it’s a clear sign that you will need to look elsewhere for quality legal help.
5. Do You Expect My Case to Go to Trial?
It’s also important to be aware that not every criminal case will end up going to trial. After all, there are several possible outcomes for each case.
The key is to have an honest conversation with each criminal defense attorney you interview about whether or not they believe the case will go to trial. An experienced lawyer in a criminal defense case should be able to look at the basic facts of the case, assess the evidence, and offer insight into possible options for moving forward.
Keep in mind that avoiding a courtroom trial can save time, money, and the potential for the case dragging on for months or even years. This could be especially problematic if you’re going to have to remain in jail until the trial is complete.
6. How Many Lawyers Will Be Assigned to My Case?
Every case is different, thus each one requires a different level of attention and manpower. That’s why it’s crucial to get an idea of how many lawyers and other legal staff will be working on your case.
This can have a significant impact on the quality of representation they’re able to provide, as well as how much time will be required to bring the case to a successful conclusion.
Many law firms also use outside resources such as private investigators and expert witnesses in specific fields who can help build a strong case. So don’t be shy about asking how your case will be handled and the number of resources that will be dedicated to delivering a desirable outcome.
7. What’s Your Success Rate With This Type of Case?
Do you want a loser presenting your case in front of a jury in court? Of course not. You need a proven winner with a long track record of successful criminal defense trials.
This is another area where there’s no need to be shy. Don’t be afraid to ask about a firm’s success rate. And don’t be afraid to move on very quickly when you sense that they won’t be able to deliver a verdict that will keep you out of prison. After all, there’s too much at stake.
8. How Long Will the Process Take?
Dealing with a criminal defense case can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re facing jail time. This is another reason why you want the process to reach a successful outcome as quickly as possible.
An experienced criminal defense attorney might not be able to tell you exactly how long the process will take in your specific case, but they should be able to provide insight into whether it will take months or years, depending on the severity of the charges and the amount of evidence available to them at the outset.
9. How Do You Typically Communicate With Clients?
Communication is a key element of the attorney/client relationship, and yet every law firm has a different communication policy. Thus you should be upfront about asking them to clarify how they prefer to communicate with clients. This can help reduce confusion and frustration.
10. How Much Will a Quality Defense Cost?
Make no mistake, a quality criminal defense isn’t cheap. Most of the cost depends on the specific firm and the needs of the case. That’s why it’s important to get an idea of what your case is likely to cost and how they bill their clients.
A Guide to Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer
No one ever plans to get arrested. But when you do, you better make sure that you hire the best legal help that you can find. Fortunately, this guide to important questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer will help you make the search for quality legal representation a bit less stressful.
Please contact us today to request a consultation with our team of experts in criminal law.
Cook & Tolley, LLP
304 E Washington St
Athens, GA 30601