Have you been charged with a criminal offense and need a criminal defense attorney? Are you or someone you love facing a felony or misdemeanor charge? The idea of facing these charges can be frightening and overwhelming. You already know the key to fighting these charges might be hiring the right criminal defense attorney. You need their skill and knowledge to fight your case effectively. But hiring an attorney can be confusing too when there are so many options. How do you find a defense attorney who focuses in criminal defense and can handle your case? Read on for the 5 things to ask a potential criminal defense attorney before you choose them to handle your case.
1. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE AS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY?
While this might seem like a basic question, it’s one that matters when hiring a lawyer. Your potential criminal defense lawyer should expect this question when you first talk with them.
You want to know their professional qualifications. You want to ask:
- Where did you attend law school?
- Are you a member of any professional organizations?
- How long have you been practicing law?
Then you want to get more specific about their experiences specific to criminal law. You can ask if they have always focused on criminal law and if they also practice other types of law.
It makes sense to also ask how long they have been practicing law and what position they hold in the firm.
It’s also suggested that you ask if the attorney has ever been sanctioned by the bar for attorney misconduct. You want to hire an attorney with a spotless reputation and one who is respected in the field.
It’s important to ask these beginning questions and get a sense for how the attorney communicates and if you feel comfortable with them.
2. HAVE YOU HANDLED A CASE LIKE MINE BEFORE?
The question of have you handled a case like mine before continues to speak to their level of experience. Ask them to discuss other cases with you that have been like your case.
It’s important for your criminal defense attorney to have experience with cases that are like your case. It speaks to their knowledge level about how to proceed with your case.
When you ask them to discuss similar cases, it also provides you with information about what to expect with your case going forward.
This is also a good time to ask about outcomes and success rates. What outcomes have you gotten from cases like mine and what is the success rate in handling similar cases?
No two cases are ever alike, yet, this can help to paint a picture of what you might expect with your case as you move forward. Of course, your attorney won’t share exact particulars that would breach their obligation to other clients. But it still helps you to learn about them as an attorney.
3. WILL YOU BE HANDLING MY CASE?
You might assume when you walk in to meet with an attorney that they will be the one handling your case. You shouldn’t assume this.
It’s important to ask this question especially if the attorney is part of a large law firm. Some firms with big names in the legal community will send in a well-known attorney to meet the client, then farm out the actual work to other associates at the firm.
You will be spending a lot of time with your criminal defense attorney. How they behave and communicate not only matters to you, but also in the courtroom too.
You need to know who will actually be working on your case. Don’t be alarmed to hear that others besides just your attorney might have a hand in your case. Attorneys typically have support staff who help them when managing a case.
You will want to talk and spend time with whoever will actually be handling your case.
4. HOW WILL YOU APPROACH MY CASE?
Now you want to discuss the particulars of your case. Your attorney will need to know all the particulars of your charges, potential evidence, and information related to your case.
The more the attorney knows the better for them and you. This is the time when you need to be 100% forthcoming about the details of your case. Knowing as much as possible about the status of your case helps the attorney formulate a plan for how to proceed.
Will they need experts? Where might there be potential holes in the case the prosecution is trying to build?
Ask the lawyer to talk you through what to potentially anticipate with your case. Remember, they can only use their experience to predict where the case will go. But every case is different and unique and they can’t anticipate juries or witnesses.
Aside from this, it helps to know what to basically expect as your case moves forward.
5. HOW WILL COST BE HANDLED FOR THE CASE?
This is an important question to have spelled out for you. You want to know if the attorney charges a flat fee to handle your case or if they charge by the hour.
The attorney should be upfront with charges so you know what to expect. How much retainer do they need to take your case? Then do they accept payments after the retainer is used up?
You need to know the potential cost of using this attorney and there should be no surprises related to the expense. If they charge by the hour, ask about what kind of time they expect to be needed to handle your case.
Also, ask if there are any ancillary costs connected to the case for things like filings, court costs, or expert witnesses.
FINDING THE BEST CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CASE
If you need a Texas defense lawyer, you want one who is experienced and forthcoming with the answers to these questions. If the attorney acts as if they don’t have the time to answer or discuss these questions, they’re not likely the right choice for your case.
If you need a criminal defense attorney, we can help. Make an appointment with us today to discuss the particulars of your case and how we can get started helping you today.