If you are in the position where you need an attorney, you might be highly stressed. You will be scared and if you have done something that might be wrong, you are probably panicking. This is where you are likely to make even more mistakes.
The worst mistake you could make at this point is hiring the wrong attorney. If you run out and hire the first attorney that you come across, you might hire someone who isn’t suitable for the case. This could be the difference between going to jail and just getting a fine, or even being found not guilty. You would be gambling with your life.
What kind of lawyer do you need?
Firstly, you need to think about what type of lawyer you need. You do have the option of just having a consultation with a lawyer before you head to the courtroom, but if you are charged with a serious crime, then it is wise that you have a lawyer with you in court.
When choosing your lawyer, you need to pick one who has experience in the field you are playing in. If you are charged with a crime, there is no point taking a divorce lawyer in with you because you will be at a disadvantage.
So, know what you are facing and do your research before you choose the person to represent you. The attorney will be working for you, so make sure you choose the one that you want.
Federal vs State
You need to know the difference between State and Federal law and you need to know which one your crime falls under. State law is more like robberies, family arguments, contact violations and traffic issues. Federal law, is more to do with breaking constitutional law. This could be things like bankruptcy, copyright and patent issues.
If your case falls under Federal law, then you will need a lawyer that is more experienced. You are going to be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office. They will know what they are doing and you are more likely to win, if your attorney does as well.
If you have a short list of firms that you might want to use, the next step would be booking a consultation with them. The consultations are free so you will not have to worry about any added cost.
In the consultation, it is the attorney’s chance to show you how they can help you. They are not your boss, so don’t feel intimidated by them. If you don’t understand what is happening in the consultation, then tell them and they should have no problem explaining the legal terms.
Is a public defender an option?
You do have the option to use a public defender but they are very different from defense attorneys. Public defenders are usually only used when the defender can’t afford a lawyer.
You might want to save some money and use a public defender but they are very busy. They have a lot more cases and they won’t be able to devote time to your case. With an attorney, you are paying for their time, so you are more likely to have an attorney who is concentrating solely on your case.
If a public defender has more than one case, then they are more likely to miss things. You may find yourself in court with a person who can’t do their best for you. They will try their best but their best might not be good enough.
Make this decision the most important decision in your life. If you have done something seriously wrong, then you are taking risks with your freedom if you choose to pick a public defender or even represent yourself.