If you were getting surgery, wouldn’t you want a doctor who specialized in your specific problem? When you step on a plane do you expect to have a pilot with years of experience?
When hiring an attorney there’s no question that you need the best representation possible. Going into a courtroom even the simplest actions can mean the difference between you going free and getting charged, so why take a chance?
If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney but don’t know where to start, then keep reading about this topic. This guide will tell you everything you need to ask.
Do You Have Experience Working Criminal Defense?
More and more people become lawyers every year. In California alone, over 5,000 people managed to pass the State Bar Exam in 2023. This means that there are many lawyers fresh out of law school who don’t have courtroom experience.
One of the first questions you will want to ask when hiring a lawyer is how long they have been practicing law. This will give you a good overview of how acquainted they are with the courtroom environment. Their answer can also let you know if they’re familiar with the courthouse that your trial will take place in.
If you find a lawyer with a lot of experience, they’ll be more prepared for any issues that might come up.
How Many Cases Have You Won?
Experience is important when hiring a defense attorney, but a lawyer who consistently loses cases may hurt you while trying to get the best outcome.
The best way to get around this is to ask any criminal defense attorney that you’re interviewing what their win to lose ratio for cases is. If they have a high win rate then it can do a lot to put your mind at ease in what is a very difficult and stressful time.
What Areas Do You Specialize in?
Law is a varied field with many different areas, and it can be difficult for a lawyer who is inexperienced in one field to help your chances. This is why it’s your best bet to find an attorney who specializes in cases like yours.
For example, if you are facing charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol, you want a lawyer who has handled many similar cases and come out on top.
Remember, when your reputation, money, and possibly even freedom are on the line, the attorney who specializes is the one who will have the best input.
What Are My Chances of Winning the Case?
Any Lawyer can tell you that they will win your case, but a great one will be upfront about your odds of success and what challenges you’ll face.
It’s also helpful for your attorney to tell you about any circumstances that may help you going forward, even if they know you won’t like them. For example, If it looks like your dreaded scenario of pleading guilty is the best option, you’re going to want to know it.
A lawyer who is experienced and upfront about your case will go a long way. Whereas a lawyer that tells you what you want to hear could leave you with worse charges to go along with your bill.
What Percent of Your Cases Go to Trial?
Going to court is a costly and time-consuming process for everyone involved. Because of this, you’d be much better off choosing a lawyer who can help you settle your cases before you even need to go to trial.
One of the most important questions you can ask a potential defense attorney is the percentage of cases they have that end up in trial. A low percentage shows that this attorney may be a more capable negotiator than the alternatives.
A lawyer with a low trial percentage may be just what you need to avoid any damage to your reputation and finances that could occur from going to trial.
How Much Are You Going to Charge?
A hard fact is that going to court can be expensive, and when choosing a lawyer it’s important for you to pick one that won’t drain you financially.
When hiring a criminal defense attorney it’s good to find out what you’ll be getting out of them in terms of experience versus their cost. It’s also helpful to know how they’ll charge you, as some lawyers may charge by the hour, while others might go with other methods like charging a flat rate.
A good attorney will provide you not only with good legal representation but also a reasonable rate that won’t hurt you in the long term.
Will You Be Able to Keep in Touch Often?
You put a lot of trust in an attorney when you hire them, and the last thing you’ll want is to get one that can’t communicate properly.
When your defense attorney isn’t answering your calls or replying to your emails, it’s a pretty big sign that they aren’t going to be on top of your case. To avoid this when choosing a lawyer it’s important to assess whether or not your case will be a priority for them, or if you’ll be an afterthought.
By having a dependable defense attorney you will be able to tackle the court process in a quick and efficient manner.
You Need a Good Attorney More Than Anything Else
Going to Trial can be one of the most stressful moments of your life, but it doesn’t have to be. A reliable criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this difficult process, not only saving you time but money too.
Make sure not to wait any longer, as hiring an attorney may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.