Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. If you are convicted of even a relatively minor criminal offence in Calgary, you can be facing severe penalties, including significant fines, probation, a criminal record, and even jail time. For this reason, it’s highly advisable for anyone facing criminal charges to retain an experienced Calgary criminal lawyer to represent them as soon as possible. With the number of lawyers competing for your business, however, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing a lawyer.
Here are some of the factors that you should consider when choosing the right criminal defense lawyer for you.
Perhaps the first thing you should consider is a lawyer’s specialization. Typically, you should look for a lawyer that focuses his or her practice solely on criminal law. Criminal law and procedure are highly specialized, and with so much on the line, it’s probably not a good idea to go with a lawyer that usually handles car accidents as you criminal defense lawyer.
In addition to a lawyer’s specialization, you should also consider his or her experience. It’s important to keep in mind that much of the practice of law is learned after law school, so while a younger lawyer may be fully competent to handle a minor traffic matter, if you are facing serious criminal charges, it’s best to find a lawyer with several years of experience. In addition, many criminal defense lawyers started their careers as prosecutors. This type of experience working on the other side of a criminal defense case can give lawyers insight into what the prosecutor in your case is thinking, which can often lead to a better result.
It’s also a good idea to find someone with experience defending people accused of the same or similar offenses. Criminal law is extremely complex, and lawyers often specialize in working on certain types of criminal cases. Specializing allows criminal defense lawyers to fully explore a given area of law and develop expertise in raising certain defenses or identifying common defects in the prosecution’s case. For instance, some lawyers may specialize in drunk driving cases, others in white-collar defense, and still others in defending individuals accused of violent crimes.
Finally, you should also consider whether a lawyer has experience practicing in the court where your case will be heard. Procedures can vary significantly from courthouse to courthouse, and lawyers with experience working with particular prosecutors or judges may be able to obtain a more favorable result than those who are new to a particular court.
When you hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, you should always keep in mind that your lawyer is working for you. As a result, you should consider your needs as a client and the way that a particular lawyer communicates with his or her clients. For example, you may want regular updates about your case or may only want to hear from your lawyer when he or she needs something from you. Furthermore, the criminal justice system can be confusing and difficult to understand, so take note of whether a lawyer seems open to taking the time to explain the process and the potential outcomes of your case.
In addition, lawyers are notorious for being difficult to reach, so while you are looking for one, do not hesitate to ask about how a lawyer communicates with his or her clients. Will you have his or her cell phone number? Is texting okay? Will you be communicating directly with the lawyer or a member of his or her staff? All of these are appropriate questions to ask a lawyer you are considering hiring, and the answers to them can have a significant impact on your experience as a client.
A Track-Record of Success
When deciding on a criminal defense lawyer, it’s also important to consider the outcomes that he or she has obtained for other clients. Effective lawyering takes skill, and some lawyers are better at certain tasks than others. For example, not every lawyer is a great litigators, and some lawyers may be better than others in getting their clients favorable plea bargains. As a person who has been accused of a crime, it’s important to consider a lawyer’s track record before making a decision as to whether to hire him or her. While past results are no guarantee of a particular outcome, a lawyer’s past results in cases similar to yours should be a factor in your decision-making process. For example, the lawyers at Oykhman Criminal Defence Law have a great track record of cases.
A Personal Connection
Finally, you should consider whether you feel like you have a personal connection with a lawyer before hiring him or her. Your lawyer is your personal representative in court, and regardless of a lawyer’s qualifications or reputation, you should feel comfortable with that person speaking on your behalf. In addition, you should be personally comfortable talking to your lawyer about your case and your priorities. In an ideal lawyer-client relationship, there is open communication, and clients and their lawyers reach decisions collaboratively. As a client, you should never feel like your lawyer is in charge of your case or how it is going to proceed.