Philadelphia, PA - Finding the right criminal defense attorney to represent you could be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. With the right lawyer by your side, you could reduce your prison sentence or avoid incarceration entirely. Here's how you find the best lawyer for your needs.
9 Tips to Help You Find the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Taking the time to seek out the right defense attorney can ensure you're represented in the best light possible. While the process of finding a lawyer can be daunting, it's worth it in the end.
1. Find a Responsive, Ready to Work Attorney
When you're facing criminal charges, you can't waste any time. You need an attorney that can be there for you at a moment's notice and respond within a few hours, either through email, phone, or video chat. If they're quick to answer you, they'll likely work diligently on your case.
2. Focus on the Lawyers Specialty Over Experience
Experience is essential, but if the lawyer you're hiring doesn't practice criminal law exclusively (or at least specializes in it), there's a higher chance you'll lose your case. Your attorney needs to be regularly involved in criminal law to stay up to date with changes within the court system.
3. Choose Someone With Experience in Local Courts
Every court and jurisdiction comes with its own nuances and unspoken rules. If you live in New Jersey, for example, you can't just select any lawyer from that state. But, if you live in Edison, New Brunswick, or Woodbridge, you can consult a Middlesex criminal defense attorney.
4. Good Reviews From Reputable Sources
On some websites, businesses and industry professionals can pay to remove bad reviews. Your lawyer's website will also be scrubbed clean of any negativity. However, State Bar websites can inform you of any formal disciplines, and some social media platforms won't remove reviews.
5. Positive Referrals From Friends and Family
If your friends, coworkers, or family members have used a criminal defense lawyer in the past, ask them for referrals. Since they'll have first-hand knowledge of how they perform in court, you'll have a better idea of how they'll handle your case. Plus, you may get a referral discount.
6. See if They Have a Clear Fee Structure
Your defense attorney shouldn't have complicated fee structures that are only meant to confuse their clients. At the same time, the cheapest lawyer isn't always the best. If they're transparent with what they charge and why they're probably going, to be honest with you in other situations.
7. Question If They Know Criminal Law Basics
Attorneys don't have to know everything there is to know about criminal law, but they should know the basic penalties for crimes and what steps to take in your individual scenario. If they have to look up this information in front of you, they may forget other key details in court.
8. Gauge Their Courtroom Confidence and Skills
A single misplaced objection or failing to object at the right time could have severe consequences for your case. Courtroom confidence is just as important as knowing the law itself, as you have to trust that your lawyer will be able to speak for you during the trial.
9. Test if They Can Take Direction From You
Lawyers can sometimes be sore losers or treat their clients like they know better. While your lawyer should know more than you about criminal law, they shouldn't steamroll over you. When it comes to big decisions, like going to trial or pleading guilty, you should be allowed to decide.