If you have been arrested for a crime, remember you have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
Depending on your financial situation, you may consider hiring a private criminal defense lawyer. While public defenders are free of charge, they often have heavy caseloads and may not provide the proper counsel you need to get the results you want. On the other hand, representing yourself is never a good idea.
If you decide to choose a private lawyer for your case, you need to interview several potential candidates before selecting the one who best fulfills your needs. Whenever you interview a prospective attorney, make sure you bring all of the items related to your case, such as court documents and law enforcement-related paperwork.
The following are five questions you should ask a prospective candidate:
- Question #1: How many years of experience do you have practicing criminal law?
- Answer: Like any other profession, experience matters. Consider hiring a lawyer with at least a decade of experience practicing criminal law. If the candidate was a former prosecutor, he or she understands both sides of the courtroom and can give you an advantage in your case.
- Question #2: What are the potential results of my case?
- Answer: It is important to understand that no attorney can guarantee that they can win your case. You want a lawyer who can assess your case and figure out of all of your available legal options, including the negative outcomes, in order to obtain the best possible result.
- Question #3: Is your firm based locally?
- Answer: It is always wise to choose an attorney who is located in the county, city, or town where your case is pending. A local attorney typically has strong relationships with local judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement.
- Question #4: Who will be the one handling my case?
- Answer: While you may speak with one lawyer at a firm, he or she may assign your case to another attorney. Make sure that you are interviewing the attorney who will be representing you.
- Question #5: How much do attorney fees cost?
- Answer: A low fee typically means a less experienced and qualified attorney. On the other hand, the highest fee doesn't necessarily guarantee the best service. Obtain a quote from each potential candidate and determine the best price range.