WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY?
If you find yourself charged with a crime you have some serious choices to confront. One of the most important is who to hire for your defense. The main areas to assess are experience, communication, fees and, of course, your instincts.
Naturally, most of us start our searches online; this is where we may find reviews and information. Law firms are far more internet literate today and you can find blogs and videos where attorneys discuss their skills and experience. But another important tool for finding an attorney is referrals. If you know a person who has hired a criminal defense attorney or if you know a lawyer in another field, talk to them about their experiences and recommendations. Law firm websites and testimonials are also a great way to get a view of that lawyer’s experience and the outcomes.
Communication is another necessary factor to consider and this is something where first impressions really count, when you called their office, was the staff friendly and helpful? Did the attorney call you back promptly? Is the firm so large that you feel like no one really knows you? When things are happening through your case experience, you want a lawyer who will talk to when you need to talk to him or her. You also want a lawyer who is willing to talk to your family when you want them included and who understands how your case may affect those around you.
Fees are another area of concern. It’s a good idea to do some research on average pricing for a service, so you have a ballpark idea of what to expect. It’s also important to understand fee structures, is it a flat fee? What are additional costs? Does the attorney charge extra for phone calls or meetings? Is there a separate fee if you have to go to trial?
Most importantly, do they offer free consultations? You may need to interview several attorneys to find the right fit and paid consultations can be too expensive for this process.
Lastly, trust your gut. This may not seem like helpful or new advice, but it still holds true, if there is something about your attorney’s demeanor that makes you uncomfortable, then keep searching. Your lawyer should be someone you trust to fight for you and someone you feel comfortable talking about delicate matters with. Moreover, getting charged with a crime feels terrible and you want someone who shows you compassion and concern and who does not treat you like a criminal.
At Hebets & McCallin we know that life is complicated and good people find themselves caught up in bad things. We have the experience and compassion you need in a tough time; we are easy to reach and offer free consultations. If you need help resolving a criminal matter, give us a call.