Are you looking to hire a criminal defense attorney?
If yes, there’s a good chance you’re in some kind of trouble. Perhaps you’ve been suspected of committing a crime or you’re already facing criminal charges. Heck, even when your closest friend has been arrested on some criminal charges, such as murder, it’s advisable to have a defense attorney on speed dial.
Regardless of the situation, hiring a criminal attorney can mean the difference between several years behind bars and freedom. However, not just any attorney is going to help you win your case. You need the best criminal defense attorney on your side; otherwise, your case could be a toss of the coin.
So, how do you find the best of the best?
We’ve got a comprehensive guide here, so keep reading!
1. Understand the Nature of Your Criminal Case
You’re hiring a criminal defense attorney to defend you because you’re facing a criminal charge. What you need to know is that criminal attorneys specialize in specific types of criminal cases.
As such, the first step to hiring the best criminal defense attorney is to have a good understanding of the nature of your case.
For instance, if you’re facing drug possession charges, you need a drug crime attorney. If you’re facing a murder charge, you need a lawyer who not only specializes in murder cases but also the specific degree (such as first-degree murder) of your case.
If you’re facing a fraud charge, you need a criminal fraud lawyer. If you’re being charged for driving under the influence, you need a DUI lawyer. Bear in mind you need to know what happens when you get a DUI to understand whether your charge is a felony or a misdemeanor.
If it’s your first time being on a DUI charge, you might not even need to hire a lawyer. In most instances, you’ll get away with a fine and a stern warning. However, if you’re a repeat offender, there’s a chance you committed a felony.
2. Make a Shortlist of Lawyers You’d Potentially Hire
You aren’t going to find the best criminal defense attorney by making a random pick or settling for the first lawyer you come across. You need to make a shortlist of about 5 lawyers. Then, scrutinize their credentials and case record, and narrow down to the best.
The question is: where do you find the lawyers who will be on your shortlist?
Start by getting recommendations from the people in your social circles.
If you know anyone who has faced a criminal charge like the one you’re facing, don’t shy away from reaching out and asking if they know any good criminal lawyer. It’s understandable that facing a criminal charge can expose you to stigmatization, but your focus here is to find the best attorney. Don’t let your fears stand in the way.
Your offline search might not yield many or any results. If that’s the case, take the search online.
A simple “best criminal defense attorney near me” search on Google or other search engines will lead you to the websites of some of the top-rated attorneys in your region. Pick out a couple of lawyers and note down links to their websites.
With a shortlist, you’re now ready to start vetting each lawyer.
3. Check Licensure Status
Across the United States, active lawyers must have a state-specific license.
You’re probably asking, “If all lawyers should be licensed, why should I check whether the ones on my list are licensed?”
First, you want to ensure your lawyer is licensed to practice in your state. If you somehow hire an out-of-state lawyer or one who used to practice in your state but no longer does, they might only be able to offer you legal advice. They can’t represent you in a court of law in your state.
Second, checking whether a lawyer is licensed puts you out of a fake lawyer’s path. There are people who pose as lawyers, waiting to con unsuspecting people. If you fall for such a person, you’ll pay a consultation fee and probably never hear from them again.
Also, don’t just trust the licensing information the lawyers give you. Be sure to crosscheck the details with what’s on your State’s Bar.
4. Examine Case Record
You want a lawyer who has a great record of winning criminal cases. Sure, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win your case, but such a lawyer inspires confidence.
The only way to know a lawyer’s case record is to ask about the number of cases they’ve won or reached favorable outcomes versus the number of cases they’ve lost.
Now here’s the thing — a lawyer with a great record isn’t going to come cheap. They know their record speaks for itself and will likely bill you a lot of money.
Should you pay up? It really depends on the nature of your case and what’s at stake. If you’re facing several years behind bars, perhaps you’ve to put all your trust in a lawyer with a great record.
Along with the case record, you should assess the reputation of a criminal defense attorney before hiring them.
The best attorney will have a solid reputation. If a lawyer has lots of negative comments and complaints, strike them off your shortlist. Such a lawyer could fail to dedicate adequate time to the case or even drop it before it concludes.
Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing a criminal charge is no small matter. Your life could be at stake.
Although justice will often take its rightful course, hiring the best criminal defense attorney will help ensure your case concludes in your favor. This could be in terms of an acquittal or even a reduced sentence.
With this guide, you now know how to find the best attorney. Start your search and keep tabs on our site for more tips and insights.