There are not many more things as important as selecting the right criminal defense attorney should you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. A good defense attorney can make the difference between going to jail, getting convicted of a lesser crime and getting off “scott free” with all charges dropped.
There are many attorneys who say they are specialists in defending criminals, especially at trial, but how does one go about selecting the right criminal defense attorney – one that knows their craft and can present the case as best as humanly possible.
The first place to start, as in many things, is with recommendations from people you know. If you find yourself in a position where someone you know and trust has used a criminal law specialist, and had a favorable outcome, you can start by talking to that attorney. Of course, if that attorney specializes in a specific type of criminal law and you are charged with a completely different offense, this recommendation may not do you any good.
The next place to get a solid recommendation is from your bail bonds agent. No doubt you used a bail bondsman when you were first arrested to get you back into normal life while awaiting trial. These bondsmen are in contact with a lot of people, including those that have been arrested and those that defend the accused. They are usually in a very good position, with first-hand knowledge to recommend good attorneys. Speak to you bondsman and see if they can offer a recommendation based on another client that had their case dismissed or were found not guilty due to the work a good attorney.
The next place to check for an attorney is on the internet. Simply search from criminal attorney and you will see a whole bunch of attorneys and law firms listed. What you are looking for in these search results are the reviews. The best place to check reviews, and the skill level of an attorney, is a site called Avvo. This site rates attorneys of all sorts, including those that specialize in the practice you need. Pick several that you want to talk to.
Once you have found several attorneys that could possibly defend you, you need to call them and ask a few initial questions such as:-
- Do they offer a free consultation?
- What their fees are
- Have they defended others who have been charged with the same crime?
If the attorney gives the answers you are looking for you can then set up an appointment to meet. When you meet you should confirm their credentials and get details of the similar cases they have won. You should also have them fully explain the fees. A goof attorney will have lots of proof of their success and take the time to explain exactly what the fees are and what the likely process will be.
Finally, you must work with an attorney that you feel completely comfortable with. You will be sharing, perhaps, very private and personal information so it is best for both parties that you have an excellent relationship.