A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you have been charged with a crime. But not every attorney is the right choice for you.
To determine if an attorney is capable of helping you achieve the best outcome, it is crucial to ask the right questions. Here are 15 essential questions to ask when interviewing criminal defense attorneys for you.
1. How Long Have Your Been Practicing Criminal Law?
Experience is crucial when representing clients in criminal cases. An attorney who has been in practice for many years and has successfully represented many clients is a great benefit. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you about what to expect at each stage of the legal process. An experienced attorney will be able to predict the strategies and actions of the prosecution, which can help you build a strong defense strategy.
A defense lawyer must have the right experience and specialization in order to be successful. Many attorneys also do other legal work, in addition to representing criminal clients. It is important to make sure that your attorney has criminal law expertise and can fully devote their attention to your case.
2. What Are Your Professional And Educational Credentials?
As you would when you hire someone to do a job for you, it is important to verify that your attorney has the right educational and professional credentials. You can get a better idea about the legitimacy of your legal council by asking questions such as “from which law school did you study?” and “to what bar associations or professional organizations do you belong?”
You might also want to inquire if the attorney you are interviewing has been charged with or sanctioned in relation to attorney misconduct. The attorney representing you should be in good standing with the legal system.
3. Do You Have Experience With Cases Similar To Mine?
Not only is it important to find an experienced defense lawyer, but also one that is familiar with your charges. An attorney who has handled similar cases can help you save time and money, and will most likely get you a better result. It is also worth asking if similar cases have been tried and the outcomes.
4. How High Is Your Success Rate?
It is important to ensure that your defense lawyer has experience in dealing with clients in similar situations to yours. However, you want to work with an attorney who will likely achieve a positive outcome. Every case is different and each client is different, but you want an attorney with a track record of achieving the best outcome possible for his or her clients.
5. Are There Testimonials Of Past Clients I Could Read?
Although not all lawyers ask for testimonials from their clients, some excellent attorneys will. Testimonials can be a great way to find out what real clients think about the defense lawyer you are considering hiring. Many attorneys who have satisfied clients can provide you with many written testimonials that you can read. You may also find testimonials from fellow lawyers in your area.
6. What Percentage Of Your Cases Are Tried?
Criminal proceedings can be stressful, expensive, and tiring. Many times, a quick resolution is the best option for your case. Your attorney might be able to help you get a plea bargain and avoid your appearing in court.
Your attorney should have sufficient knowledge to evaluate your case and determine whether there are ways to reach a fair result without going to trial. However, if your case goes to trial, having an attorney with confidence and competence in courtrooms is a must.
7. How Often Will You Appear At The Courthouse Where My Case Is Heard?
It is important to have an attorney with a good relationship with the judges. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to tell you what to expect from local prosecutors and how to structure your defense to counter their actions. Your attorney will be better equipped to assess the likelihood of the outcome of your case if he has a good understanding of the courtroom where it will be heard.
8. Will You Be The One To Be My Advocate?
Many lawyers work for firms that employ paralegals and junior associates. Sometimes, attorneys will delegate tasks to other members of the legal team. This can benefit you as the hourly rate of a junior associate may be lower than your attorney’s.
You will want your attorney to be involved in all the important decisions and oversee the work of other members of your team. Ask your attorney if he or she is able to devote sufficient time and attention to your case.
9. What Is The Strength Of My Case?
You should not expect a lawyer to guarantee a particular outcome in your case. An experienced, knowledgeable defense lawyer will be able to assess the information you have provided and give an estimate of how it might play out. Your attorney should also be able to assess your case and determine the strengths and weaknesses that will influence the defense strategy he or she will create.
10. Which Strategy Would You Suggest For My Case?
As with the outcome of a case, no attorney can predict how it will turn out. Your attorney should be able to devise a clear defense strategy and plan how to proceed with your case. Your attorney should explain the various strategies to you and tell you why.
11. Are There Other Options Than Going On Trial?
Inquiring about your case’s overall strength and the strategies your defense lawyer believes are possible, it is also important to ask about any options that you have to avoid trial. Criminal trials can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive, and could also put your fate in the hands of a judge or jury. Ask your lawyer if there is a way to get out of going to court.
12. What Is My Role In This Case?
It is likely that you will play some role in the preparation and presentation of your case. You should be aware of what is expected of you. As the defendant, it is likely that you will be required to prepare and assist with the preparation of documents and other background information. It is possible that you will be asked to not speak with witnesses or perform any legal work on your own.
However, there are some cases where taking an active role in your case can be beneficial. For example, if you have a DUI or drug-related matter, it is possible to undergo treatment before the court orders it. This could help with the outcome of your case. It is important to make sure you do everything possible to help your case. Asking your attorney for instructions is the best way.
13. What Will Be The Duration Of This Process?
There are many factors that can affect the time taken to resolve a case. Your attorney can’t control the pace of the legal process. However, they should be able to give you an estimate of the time it will take to resolve your case based upon the strategies employed. Knowing the timeline will help you prepare for the process.
14. How Often And How Much Will We Communicate With Each Other?
There are likely to be many questions during the process, especially if you face charges that could lead to jail time, fines, or other severe consequences. Your attorney should be available to answer any questions that you might have.
Your defense lawyer should keep you informed about your case’s progress. You should think about how often you would like to communicate with your attorney to feel confident and comfortable in your council. Also, ensure that you have exchanged contact details and know how you can stay in touch.
15. What Will It Cost To Defend My Case?
It is important that you understand all costs involved in your defense. You will not only have to pay your attorney’s fees but also witness costs, investigation costs, and other costs. Ask your attorney about all costs and the structure of their legal fees when interviewing them. Most attorneys charge either an hourly or flat fee. Depending on the case, you may prefer one over the other.
You should ask your attorney if they charge an hourly rate and if you are required to pay a retainer. If your attorney charges a flat fee, ask what it covers and whether you can pay it in installments or just upfront. Ask your attorney to give you an estimate of the fees and any additional costs related to your case.