Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Checklist
When you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer, you should know several things about the firm or attorney that will be representing you. The outcome of your case could drastically change your life, especially for those who have false or exorbitant allegations lodged against them. Even if the state has overwhelming evidence against you, depending on your personal circumstances, a good attorney may be able to get the charges lowered.
Why You Should Retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a crime, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer for several reasons, but the two most important reasons are:
- The attorney is able to best represent you, especially in cases where the charges are more serious. Unless you are also an attorney, you most likely don’t know the ins and outs of the law or the legal process once you get to court.
- In most cases, prosecutors will not plea bargain – make a deal – with the accused but will at least attempt to come to an agreement on a plea bargain with an attorney.
Furthermore, a lawyer who is not versed in criminal law will not be as effective as a criminal law defense attorney. Thus, if your friend is a civil lawyer that practices family law, personal injury or some other type of civil case, he or she is not going to be a big help in most criminal cases as this is not the area of law that attorney studied.
Always look for an attorney who practices in the court you will be appearing in. While criminal laws are the same throughout the state of Florida, each court also has its own local rules. These local rules generally apply to administrative procedures such as filing documents, getting hearings before the court and working with district attorneys. For example, an attorney in the next county over may not have experience working out a plea bargain because that county does not have a policy where the attorney and prosecutor meet before the hearing.
Furthermore, being familiar with the district attorneys is a big help in creating a negotiating strategy for your case. One district attorney may not like to work out plea bargains until right before a case goes to trial while another might like to work out a deal and get the case off his or her desk.
Criminal Law Attorney Checklist
When you contact an attorney for the first time, some of the questions you might ask before retaining that attorney include:
- Ask what kind of experience the attorney has had with the type of crime you have been accused of. This answer should come in the form of the number of people the attorney has represented who faced the same charges or similar charges as you are facing.
- What were the outcomes of those cases?
- Is at least one of the attorneys in the firm board certified?
- If the attorney is not board certified find out how many years he or she has been practicing criminal defense law.
- Make sure your personalities mesh. You should feel comfortable with the attorney. You should feel as though you could tell the attorney anything, because you may have to.
- Make sure the attorney is able to explain your rights and the law to you in a manner that you are able to understand.
- The attorney should show interest in your case as opposed to an attitude that screams, “Yes! Another case number!”
- Is the attorney concerned about your personal situation? In some cases, it may be a defendant’s personal situation that led him or her to the situation he or she is in.
It is important that you find an attorney that not only knows the law inside and out, but that is able to get you through the system based on your personal issues – not as if you are just another number.
Contact Yardley Law
If you have been accused of a crime or you have been arrested and charged, contact our criminal law defense attorneys at Yardley Law to set up a consultation.