TIPS ON CHOOSING THE BEST CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Law is so large an entity that no definite word or phrase can actually define it. This is because there are different laws to cater to different situations of life. There is civil law, which is the law that relates to laws connected with personal relationships, marriages and interpersonal circumstances like a personal injury case. On the other hand, criminal law is that branch of law that defines a crime, the victim and the violator of the law.
As criminal law is a large branch in the field of law, this branch is again divided into two sections. Each of these sections has its own professional criminal defense lawyer. The first section of criminal law is criminal procedure, which defines how a trial has to be conducted. With criminal procedure law, it is proven how claims have to be examined and how proof of a crime has to be collected. The criminal defense attorneys who are experts in criminal procedures have a system of collecting evidence in favor of the client. As this criminal defense attorney is specific about the client’s rights of the law, they maintain the doctrine ‘innocent until proven guilty’ throughout the trial of the client.
Substantive criminal law is the other section of criminal law. The criminal defense attorney specializing in substantive criminal law works with the people charged with the crime. The criminal defense attorney is usually approached by the violator of the crime. However, sometimes, the lawyer may also be selected by the court to represent the client who may not be able to hire a lawyer because of financial circumstances. The criminal defense attorney has to meet the client, and the client has to relate the scene of the crime, giving true statements. Everything spoken here is and remains confidential. Then the criminal defense lawyer has to defend the client to help him or her achieve success in the court.
You can tell if the criminal defense attorney is a good one or not by his approach to a case. The good criminal defense attorney collects as much facts of the case from the client and the investigators. It is then up to him to create a strong case wherein the client will not be charged gravely. However, in the case of the client being truly guilty of the crime, then it is up to the criminal defense attorney to present the facts of the situation such that it is possible to maintain a doubt of guilt.
The good criminal defense attorney will try his level best to make the punishment allotted to the guilty client is befitting the crime done by the client. It is always better to get some testimonials on a lawyer before hiring the criminal defense attorney. Your friends and family is the best people to approach to find out information on the criminal defense attorney. The good criminal defense attorney is one who stands by the client till the end of the trial, to make sure that the client gets as favorable an outcome as possible.
How to Choose a Defense Attorney
Just like you wouldn’t visit a podiatrist to treat an ear infection, you shouldn’t go to a tax attorney if you want to sue the driver who rear-ended your car. There are many areas of law and a lot of different types of lawyers who deal with them. When your freedom is on the line, it’s important to seek the correct representation
Whether you are being investigated for a crime or have already been charged, you want to have the best criminal defense lawyer you can afford fighting for you. A good place to start is by asking people you trust for referrals, including friends (if you feel like you can talk with them about your case), family members, and non-criminal defense attorneys that you may know. These individuals are a great resource because, rather than just gathering a list of names, you can ask questions about their suggestions such as whether the attorney was on time for appointments, reasonably available to answer questions and organized
If the thought of sharing personal details with acquaintances makes you uncomfortable, you can anonymously visit countless websites online. The American Bar Association has state-specific information and there are several professional associations specializing in criminal defense (the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the Association of Federal Defense Attorneys and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are just a few). Independent legal referral websites also offer a ton of information.
A list of three or four possible attorneys is sufficient. If you find yourself overwhelmed with choices, consider researching whether the lawyer has had any publicity, your reaction to their advertising, and how many cases they have handled that are similar to yours. Years in practice do not necessarily correspond to years of experience. For example, a criminal defense lawyer who has been in practice for ten years may have handled many more criminal cases than a general practitioner or civil attorney who has been in practice for thirty. Look for a lawyer who has worked on cases like yours, and is personally acquainted with the prosecutors, judges, and procedures in your area
Once you’ve narrowed down the list, it’s often time to set up face-to-face meetings, although in a pinch (for example, if you get arrested and taken to jail one night and have your first court appearance the next day) much can be done over the phone or via video conference such as FaceTime or Skype. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation. Bring along a summary of your case with details such as when you were arrested, the circumstances of the arrest, what the charges are and whether anyone else was involved. This consultation should help you understand the charges, what the prosecutor must prove or establish to find you guilty, the available defenses, any key pretrial issues, what plea bargains might be offered and the possible consequences you may face. It is important to have a lawyer who puts in sufficient time to learn about your case and plan your defense, so if you don’t feel comfortable with his or her analysis, that may be a red flag. While a lawyer can give you an idea of possible outcomes, he or she cannot promise a certain result. Any criminal defense attorney that does is not someone you should choose, because the result cannot be guaranteed in advance – it hinges on negotiations with the prosecutor at best, and a judge and jury at worst
What You Can Expect from the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re looking at prison time or a hefty fine, it’s a good idea to look into hiring the best criminal defense lawyer possible. You may have the ability to get a court-appointed lawyer if your income qualifies. Simply put: the legal system is designed to make competently representing yourself in criminal trials almost impossible. Even if you have an abnormally high IQ, the system does not work in your favor. Hiring an attorney to represent you in your criminal trial is a necessity.
Because no criminal case is exactly like another, criminal defense lawyers are trained to pick out the parts of each case that make them unique. In essence, they use their knowledge to find subtle evidence and reasons why you should win the case.
Daily Responsibilities of a Criminal Lawyer
Criminal attorneys often spend months preparing for a case. The preparation can take much longer than actually being in the courtroom. This way, when the case goes to court, things can move as quickly as possible, and there are no surprises in the case.
What Specific Work Does a Criminal Lawyer Do That I Can’t Do?
After the research and strategy are done, a criminal defense lawyer has many jobs. While in court, they will call witnesses in your defense and cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.
Specialties and Duties: Plea Bargains
Your criminal defense attorney may work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a “plea bargain.”
What to Look for in a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
The attorney you’re looking for will probably not be the same person who handled your will, or helped you buy a house, or whom you aunt used when she was involved in a car accident. These all were civil attorneys, whereas you want someone who specializes in criminal law. (In small town, however, you may have no choice but to hire someone who practices in both areanas.)
Civil versus Criminal Attorneys
Private criminal defense lawyers tend to practice either on their own or in small partnerships, and in a specific geographical setting. By contrast, attorneys who handle civil cases tend to congregate in large corporate law firms with branch offices in many cities.
The Local Advantage
A defendant should try to hire an attorney with experience in the courthouse where the defendant’s case is pending. Though the same laws may be in effect throughout a state, procedures vary from one courthouse to another. For example, the D.A. in one county may have a no-plea-bargaining policy with respect to a certain offense, while the D.A. in a neighboring county may have no such policy. Or, defense attorneys in one county may know which prosecutors are more likely to plead right before trial, as against those who will negotiate in advance. Local attorneys also know the police officers and how they perform in court before juries. Defendants should prefer attorneys who have experience with local procedures and personnel.
Experience with the Crimes Charged
A defendant should also try to find an attorney who has represented defendants charged with the same or very similar offenses. Modern criminal law is so complex that many lawyers specialize in particular types of offenses. For example, one may specialize in drunk driving, another in drug offenses, and another in white-collar crimes (generally referring to nonviolent, money-related crimes, such as tax fraud or embezzlement).
The Personal Factor
A defendant’s lawyer speaks for the defendant. No matter how highly recommended a lawyer may be, it is also important that the lawyer be someone with whom the defendant is personally comfortable. The best attorney-client relationships are those in which clients are full partners in the decision-making process, and defendants should try to hire lawyers who see them as partners, not as case files.
Tips for Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a crime, the first thing you need after you’ve sorted out your bond with a reputable bondsman is a good criminal defense attorney. Whether you’re guilty or innocent, hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference in achieving a successful conclusion to your case. But, how do you choose the right criminal defense attorney?
Specialty in Criminal Law
There are many different types of law, including civil law, corporate law, bankruptcy law and criminal law, among others. You need an attorney who has taken the time to specialize in criminal law so that your lawyer is familiar with the laws and practices relevant to your case. If possible, find a lawyer with experience in your particular situation. For example, some lawyers specialize in DUI charges while others specialize in violent crime. The more experience your attorney has in cases like your own, the better
Ask family and friends for references to find a lawyer that they’d recommend. Alternatively, seek out online reviews that give an honest picture of how satisfied clients are with the lawyer. While even the best lawyer will have a few negative reviews, you’ll want to make sure the general public opinion about the lawyer you’re considering is positive
Use Free Consultation
Many criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation so that you can speak with the lawyer’s team and see if you think they’d make a good fit. During this consultation, take advantage of the opportunity it affords you to ask questions. Some good things to ask about are the lawyer’s experience in court, their specialty and how long they’ve been practicing. Be wary if the lawyer seems over-confident or promises any outcomes. No serious lawyer will promise you that you’ll win your case or immediately suggest a course of action.
Know the Team
Find out who would represent you. Larger lawyer firms may assign your case to an underling while the top lawyers are busy with other clients. It’s understandable that assistants and interns may work on researching your case, but you should know who will be ultimately handling your case when it comes time to meet with the judge or go to court.