When you’re facing criminal charges, time is of the essence. You need a good attorney fast and you cannot afford to risk your freedom by choosing someone who may not win your case. This means you need to vet a criminal defense attorney thoroughly. The solution is to ask the right questions so you can find the best possible defense attorney in the shortest period of time. Here are 5 crucial questions you need to ask before you hire a criminal defense attorney.
How Long Have You Practiced Criminal Law?
Criminal law is very different from personal injury or estate law. You want to work with an experienced attorney specializing in criminal justice. An experienced attorney can advise you through every stage of the legal process. Furthermore, they know enough to prepare for the prosecution’s standard attacks, improving the odds they can mount an effective defense.
Have You Handled Cases Like Mine Before?
You can start by asking if the attorney has a specialized area of law. If it is very different from your situation, you can move on to the next person in your list.
Then you need to ask if they’ve handled cases like yours. This question ties into the issue of experience and expertise. An attorney who hasn’t handled a case like yours before shouldn’t be allowed to learn at your expense. For example, an attorney who handles drunk driving cases may not be qualified to handle a capital murder charge. However, some firms like Anaya McKedy P.C. have years of experience dealing with everything from drug crimes to DUI to violent assaults, so these would be more suited if you’re in a case that involves one or multiple of these charges.
What is Your Success Rate with Cases Like Mine?
An attorney whose criminal justice case rate is 50-50 isn’t good enough. Furthermore, it isn’t enough for an attorney to say they win 90% of their cases. What percentage of cases like yours do they win? And what types of outcomes do they get for their clients? Are clients found innocent or do they plead guilty to lesser charges that only result in probation?
How Would You Handle My Case?
This question allows you to get a general idea of how they’d handle your case. What do they need from you? Do they think you should settle for a fine or lesser sentence? Do they think you could go to trial and win? You should also ask how often you’ll hear from the attorney while the case is progressing, if it cannot be resolved quickly.
Don’t forget to ask how long they think your case will take. If the answer is too long, you might want to ask them to change their approach or find a different attorney.
How Much Will Your Services Cost?
Many criminal justice attorneys charge a flat rate. Others may charge by the hour, but they can estimate how many hours they will work on your case. Know that you may be asked to pay a retainer, if they charge an hourly rate. Understanding their strategy can help you determine if there will be investigation costs, expert witness fees and other costs on top of attorney fees.
A related question to ask is if the attorney is the only one working on your case, not just if they will be working on your case. If they farm work out to other people, you might be billed for the services of a paralegal when you thought you were hiring an attorney. Or, they may add the cost of paying legal researchers and subordinate attorneys to their initial flat fee.
For serious cases, you may want to pick an attorney who will dedicate themselves to the case. This way, critical details won’t slip through the cracks.
Your defense attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. This is why you must have the best possible attorney on your side as soon as possible.