Finding the right criminal defense attorney is paramount to ensuring you receive the best representation for your legal case. If you choose the wrong lawyer, it does not necessarily mean you will lose your case; but if you choose the right lawyer, then you increase the likelihood of winning your case or having your sentencing reduced, should you be found guilty.
When searching for a criminal defense lawyer, you should start by looking for one who has had extensive experience handling the type of crime you’ve been accused of. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before hiring your defense attorney:
- What area(s) of law does the attorney practice? Often, you will see attorneys who claim to practice many different areas of law. To determine what percentage of the lawyer’s practice is devoted to criminal defense, you may start by looking at the lawyer’s website. While viewing the website, look to see whether the lawyer is a member of any organization related to criminal defense. Also, you may want to call the lawyer’s office and inquire about his/her areas speciality, before disclosing what type of attorney you are looking for.
- What specific class of crime am I being accused of? For example, Burglary (Penal Code section 459-460(b) which is a crime against property), is a different class of crime than Robbery (Penal Code section 211 ), which is a crime against a person. When interviewing attorneys, find out if they specialize in the class of crime you’ve been accused of.
- Does the attorney have any record of being disciplined? The with your states bar association to determine whether the lawyer has been disciplined for any type of misconduct. This information is typically available on the website of the state bar association, depending on your state.
- Have my rights been violated? Law enforcement agencies often make mistakes, overlook details, or even outright break the law themselves when recovering evidence. A good criminal defense attorney will identify these issues and capitalize on those opportunities.
- Will the attorney limit the number of times he will appear in court on my case? Sometimes, attorneys will limit the number of times they will appear in court on behalf. Attorneys who place strict limitation on the number of court appearances often reduce the chance of employing an effective strategy in your defense. Also, they limit their number of opportunities for resolving your case favorably.
- Read the retainer agreement carefully before signing and before paying: Be sure you understand everything in the retainer agreement before signing it. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking questions regarding the terms of the agreement.
- Can I put my life in the hands of this attorney? It isn’t enough to find an attorney who specializes in the class of crime you are being accused of and merely capable of defending your rights. You should find an attorney who is tough in court, has in-depth knowledge of the legal issues you sought him for, and who has proven experience in getting positive results for his clients. Competent legal representation is everything.
Aggressive and strategic thinking is the most important qualification for any competent lawyer. It is especially important for criminal defense. California Criminal Defense Center has a track record in aggressively defending individuals who have been criminally charged. Our attorneys are tough, knowledgeable, and well-versed in all aspects of criminal law. When you need to speak to your attorney, California Criminal Defense Center has a system in place to get you in contact with us within just a few hours.
Don’t settle for a mediocre lawyer; strive to hire a highly effective criminal defense lawyer. Ask the right questions, and you likely find the right lawyer.