Being charged with a crime is a serious matter. Although a criminal charge is always more serious if it’s classified as a felony, a misdemeanor should not be taken lightly, either. No matter what the specific offense you find yourself facing, it’s essential to hire a criminal defense attorney. There are four main questions you should ask when choosing the one who will ultimately represent you in your case.
What is Your Background and Experience?
When you meet with a criminal defense attorney, one of the first questions you should ask is about their background and experience. You want to ensure that you get someone who has knowledge of the specific crime with which you’ve been charged. In other words, if you’ve been charged with driving under the influence or DUI, you don’t necessarily need an attorney whose experience lies mainly with murder charges.
You will want to know details such as how long they’ve been practicing law, how many clients they’ve represented and how often they take cases to trial.
What are Your Legal Fees?
You will want to ask the lawyers you meet about their legal fees. While you should expect to have to pay, keep in mind that there are different ways attorneys calculate their fees and that you shouldn’t have to break your bank account to pay. You want to hire a criminal defense attorney who is somewhere in the middle. Their fees should be fair. Ask if they charge a fixed fee or charge hourly as well.
One thing you should always keep in mind is that if the attorney doesn’t give you a straight answer right from the start, you should reconsider hiring them. Lawyers should inform you about their fees before they even agree to take on your case.
What Do You Think About My Case?
The best time to ask a criminal defense attorney what they think about your case is during your initial consultation. This is when you explain your case to them and the circumstances surrounding it. It gives the attorney the opportunity to assess your situation and tell you what they think about it. This question gives you the chance to test their knowledge and learn about any potential defenses that can be offered in your case. You may also want to ask the lawyer if they think your case has a better chance going to trial or through a plea agreement.
How Will You Manage My Case?
Finally, another important question to ask when you’re trying to choose a criminal defense attorney is how they will manage your case. While lawyers use the term “case management” for the way they handle a case behind the scenes, you have a right to know what all of that entails. In addition to wanting to know whether other attorneys will work on the case with your lawyer, you should also know other pertinent details. Those include whether the attorney is available to speak with you when you contact them, their method of preferred contact and how soon they should be able to get back to you if they’re busy.
You will also want to ask who you should call if the lawyer is not available to answer your questions.
At the end of the day, the criminal defense attorney you ultimately hire to represent you should mesh well with you. You should get clear, concise answers to these crucial questions so you can move forward with your case.