As soon as you can, you should talk to an attorney about your case. Here is some advice about finding an attorney that is right for you. If possible, you should be prepared to discuss the details of your case with the Attorney.
Here are 6 things to look for in an attorney:
1) An Attorney with Experience Handling Criminal Cases
Experience is important because you need an attorney who is familiar with the court system and has learned how to handle unexpected situations correctly. Keep in mind that a former DA or Public Defender may have more experience after one year than a private attorney who has been working for 20 years because of the number of cases that they have handled and the amount of time they have spent in courtrooms. Talk to your attorney about his experience prior to hiring him.
2) An Attorney with Knowledge of Criminal Law
Knowledge of the law is essential in a courtroom. In order to present a defense effectively, your attorney needs to have a thorough understanding of the law. Feel free to ask your attorney questions about the law so that you can get a better idea of whether you feel confident in this particular attorney’s knowledge of the law.
3) An Attorney who Focuses on Criminal Defense:
Make sure that your attorney focuses on criminal defense. Think of it like a medical practice. If you would not want a dentist doing a heart transplant, why would you let a bankruptcy lawyer handle your criminal trial?
Make sure that you are comfortable with the attorney’s level of professionalism. Attorneys need to do a great deal of investigation and research to effectively represent you, so if they are unprofessional, your case might not get the attention to detail that it deserves.
Additionally, if you do not like the way he dresses or handles your paperwork, it is likely that other people are unimpressed as well. Details matter to judges and juries because they are people just like everyone else. Do not let an attorney’s lack of professionalism hurt your defense. Also, keep in mind that a person can be too polished. For example, some people are turned off by expensive suits and slick hair. Make sure that your attorney is not only professional but approachable which brings us to our next section.
Remember that judges and juries will make unconscious decisions (and sometimes conscious decisions) in your case based on whether they like your attorney. For example, there was a felony case where a juror could not decide whether to believe the prosecution or the defense. The juror then looked at the attorney’s shoes. The juror saw that the defense attorney had unpolished comfortable shoes. The prosecutor, on the other hand, had new shoes that were more fashionable than functional. The juror then reasoned that the defense attorney was more trustworthy. As a result, the juror decided to believe the defense attorney and found the person not guilty.
Whether it is fair or not, you need to be liked and have an attorney who people like. Does he open the door for people? Does he respect other people? If not, why should people do the same for him or his client?
6) An Affordable Attorney
When you find an attorney that you like, see if you can agree on a price that is within your budget. Most attorneys will setup payment plans for you or reduce your fees if you ask them. Remember that if you do not ask, you will not get it. So speak up and see if you can get the attorney that you want at a price you can afford. There are thousands of attorneys so keep an open mind until you find a qualified attorney that fits within your budget.
The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.