Questions to Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Having a good criminal defense lawyer is important if you have been charged with a crime. The defense lawyer can do their best to get you the best possible outcome. But with so many criminal defense attorneys out there, it can get difficult to determine which attorney is good for your case. It is important to research all potential lawyers and speak to them before deciding. Given below are a few questions you must ask your criminal defense attorney before hiring them:
How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Law?
You want to know how experienced your attorney is in criminal law before hiring them. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, then a family or estate law attorney will be useless to you. Ask the attorney how many years’ experience they have in criminal law. Ask them how many cases they have handled and how many have had successful results. This will give you an idea of whether you must hire this attorney or look for someone else with more experience.
How Many Experiences Do You Have Dealing With My Criminal Charge?
No matter how experienced the attorney is in general criminal law, it may not do you any good if they have not handled your type of case before. Ask your attorney about how many cases they have successfully handled in the past, similar to your charge. Find out if they have any experience dealing with your kind of case and know what is required to get you the best possible outcome.
What are your Credentials?
Like how you would want to know about someone’s education and credentials before hiring them for any job, it is important to know about the attorney’s credentials. Ask the attorney from which law school they graduated and to which bar association they belong. Answers to these questions can help you understand whether the attorney is legitimate and reliable or not.
How Many Jury Trials Have You Conducted?
If your case goes to trial, you need an attorney who has a courtroom presence. They should have the skills to argue your case aggressively before the jury and the judge. Ask the attorney about their experience with jury trials and negotiating plea bargains.
Will You or Your Team Be Working on My Case?
Many criminal defense lawyers are a part of larger firms that hire paralegals and junior associates to handle certain tasks. They may also have legal teams who will communicate with their clients and, sometimes, even take care of the court cases. You ideally want a lawyer who is completely invested in your case and who will work on your case with you. Ask the lawyer if they will represent you personally or will ask their legal team to work on your case.
What Is Your Strategy to Handle the Case?
Like the case’s outcome, attorneys cannot control every aspect of the legal process. They cannot even guarantee exactly how the case will play out. But the attorney should have a clear strategy in mind before the case goes to trial. This strategy will guide them and help them modify plans on the go in case of changes or new developments. Ask the attorney to tell you about their strategies and explain their legal plan.
Do I Have Other Options Besides Going to Trial?
Trials are stressful, costly, and time-consuming. They also put your future in the hands of a judge. Speak to the lawyer and see if you have other options other than going to trial. Check if you have the option of a fair plea bargain or any other way to avoid going to trial.
How Long Will the Entire Process Take?
Time taken to reach a resolution will vary from case to case. Your attorney cannot control the pace of the legal process, but they will be able to give you an estimate of how long it may take for the entire process to be over. Getting an idea of the timeframe will help you plan better.
How Do You Communicate?
Your lawyer must communicate with you often and keep you updated on the case. Check with the lawyer about modes of communication. See if they have any preferences and ask if they will directly speak to you or have a legal team communicate with you.
Are You A Member of Any Professional Organization?
Memberships to prestigious legal organizations and professional ties indicate a higher level of commitment and reliability. Check if your lawyer is a former state prosecutor. Ask them whether they belong to any organizations and have contacts with important people who may be useful while building your defense.
What are Your Legal Fees?
If you cannot afford an attorney, you won’t be able to work with them no matter how much you like them. You must find out about the attorney’s legal fees and payment methods before hiring them. Ask the lawyer about the costs you will have to bear during the trial. This includes any legal fees, investigation costs, witness costs, and other additional costs that may come up during the case.