When you are charged with a criminal offense, it is important to find the right representation. By all means, avoid a relative who once won a traffic offense for your beloved uncle. When you are charged with a criminal case, you need to hire a specialist who understands the nature of the case. Therefore, contacting lawyers that specialize in criminal law is the way to go. Before undertaking your search, it is important to know exactly what kind of lawyer you need. The steps of choosing a criminal defense lawyer include:
· Check referrals & recommendations
Recommendations from a friend, family member or colleagues offer an easy way of finding a criminal lawyer. Alternatively, you can use the local directory or internet to find legal representation. However, make sure to perform a background check to confirm the quality of services you will be getting. Reading the customer and peer reviews will provide feedback about lawyer’s reliability.
Consider a lawyer who has reputable references to contact- call a few of them to find out their experiences with the lawyer. If you have time, a courtroom observation offers an effective way of finding a lawyer. Sitting in a public session will provide firsthand experience of seeing how well the lawyer represents his or her clients.
· Meet the lawyer
Anyone can design an attractive slogan advertising how good he or she is at his or her job. However, it is advisable to meet the lawyer to assess his levels of skills and confidence. Confirm the lawyer’s specialization by asking for a state bar certification and find out their experience in cases similar to yours. Furthermore, find out how they intend to approach the case.
Find out the law office ancillary services (e.g. communications, private investigation, psychotherapy, etc). If you feel something is amiss or if you feel you are being conned, you are better of trusting your guts. You have nothing to lose leaving someone you are uncomfortable with. Be wary of a lawyer who guarantees a win, although a practitioners’ win/loss rate should grant you an idea of what you can expect.
· Know cost of hiring
The cost of legal representation is often based on the complexity of a case. Lawyers use different ways to charge, including fees for specific areas in a case, hour rates and flat fees. The hourly rates are consumer friendly, although they are the most unpredictable because a case can run for more days than anticipated.
On the other hand, flat rates despite being predictable can be high particularly with complex cases. Giving accurate information to your lawyer at the first consultation is more likely to generate a realistic fee. Those who end up paying more are those who do not know their crime and their court dates, among other vital details.