Getting arrested or learning that you are under investigation may shock and scare you. Although not all arrests or investigations lead to criminal charges, an arraignment and trial could possibly be in your future.
Once you know that you face accusations of criminal conduct or that the state has begun investigating you, you will likely want to confer with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Choosing the right lawyer is critical for those facing accusations of serious criminal offenses.
How do you select the right lawyer for your needs?
Figure out what kind of help you require
There are attorneys who have experience handling violent crimes and capital offenses, and there are attorneys who specialize in traffic ticket defense. Finding a lawyer who has handled cases like your own previously is often crucial to the success of your defense. You don’t want a lawyer unfamiliar with the law or precedent that might impact your case.
Do some online research
Many defense attorneys will happily sit down and talk to you, but you could waste a lot of time conducting unnecessary meetings and interviews. Looking at a lawyer’s digital ratings and their website can give you a better idea of their experience and approach to criminal defense fits what you will need in your case.
Prepare questions for when you do meet
You don’t just want to meet with an attorney and have a casual conversation. You need to address the biggest issues in your case and determine if they are a fit for your needs.
Preparing a list of questions, such as requesting examples of similar cases that they have handled in the past or asking what approach they think would best work in your scenario, can help you decide which lawyer’s skills at legal practice best fit with your current situation.
Watch for red flags of inadequate representation
Some people are smooth talkers with little follow-through. If you hire an attorney who makes big promises and then makes basic mistakes in court or fails to show up to scheduled meetings, it may be time to look into changing your defense attorney. Don’t fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy that tells you once you’ve invested time and money in cooperation with the lawyer that you need to stay with them throughout your trial.
The wrong representation can hurt your chances of a successful defense, so partnering with the right lawyer, even halfway through your trial, is one of the most important decisions you can possibly make when facing an investigation or criminal charges. Knowing how to protect yourself when hiring a criminal defense attorney will help you derive the most benefit possible from the investment you intend to make.