Hiring a criminal defense attorney is not a walk in the park. If you do not go prepared, then you will end up wasting thousands of dollars for a verdict that is not in your best interests. Finding the right criminal defense attorney can be extremely difficult. Besides, if you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, it is possible that your life or liberty is on the line. When you hire the best criminal defense attorney such as a Pittsburg Criminal Defense Attorney, you can be rest assured knowing that the attorney will have your best interests in mind. In order to choose the right criminal defense attorney, the following 8 questions will be of great use.
- Will the Attorney Handle Your Case Personally?
Most big firms tend to employ several attorneys, interns, and paralegals to work on your case. Having too many people working on your case might not be the best option because there is always a possibility of someone forgetting to tell the others about material matter. This could easily increase the margin of error. The best way to deal with such an issue is by ensuring that the attorney you share all crucial details with is the person who handles the case and represents you in front of the court.
- Which Criminal Law Areas Is the Attorney Most Well-Versed and Experienced In?
Most people forget asking this question and it can be detrimental to their case. It is a common misconception that criminal defense attorneys handle different types of criminal cases. Most criminal defense attorneys only have experience and expertise in a few areas of criminal law which is why you need to make sure that the attorney you hire has relevant experience.
There are certain attorneys which specialize in drug-related and other violent crimes, while others only handle theft-related cases. The crime you have been charged with should match up with the attorney’s area of expertise. If that is not the case, then you will need to find another attorney.
- How Often Would Court Appearances Need To Be Made?
Most of the cases are settled through a plea bargain by criminal attorneys. You need to make sure that they have in-court and out-of-court experience. If the case is quite complicated, then chances are that court appearances would need to be made and in such a case, only a criminal defense attorney who goes to court regularly should be considered. The court process is complex and the right attorney will know ropes of the process.
- What Is the Attorney’s Experience of Handling Criminal Defense Cases & How Long Has the Attorney Been Handling Such Cases?
This is an extremely important question as it indicated whether the criminal defense attorney is experienced enough to handle your case. Even though you can always hire a new attorney to work on your case, your best option would be to consider an experienced criminal defense attorney. There is a reason why experienced attorneys who have litigated in court have higher fees. They know the process inside and out, and should let you know about what to expect. There is no substitute for experience. The criminal defense attorney should have handled similar cases as yours in the past. Moreover, the attorney also has to know how to present your side of the case in front of the jury.
- What Are the Terms of Payment?
Another equally important question that you have to ask your criminal defense attorney is the terms of payment. You need to know the type of fee that you would be charged before you agree to the attorney working on your case. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be expensive and that is why you need to be careful. Keep in mind that there are various types of fee arrangements and that you should only hire the attorney when you believe that fee arrangement is suitable. For instance, personal injury lawyers charge fees on contingency basis. It is also possible for the attorney to require a retainer fee or a flat fee up front. Therefore, you should find out an attorney that charges fees according to your needs. Moreover, there are many attorneys that require you to sign a 6 pages agreement. Therefore, make sure to read the terms of the agreement carefully before you sign.
Furthermore, make sure to ask the attorney if there are any other fees that you would also need to pay. For instance, it is possible for an expert to be hired and that could cost you a lot. Filing briefs, motions, and complaints are expensive. Besides this, you might need to pay the attorney for each meeting.
- What Will the Attorney Do For You Which You Cannot Do On Your Own?
This is a crucial question because attorneys should be able to justify their costs. It might appear confrontational to ask such a question, but it has to be asked for better understanding. The attorney has to explain what he or she is doing for you, why you require the services, and how he or she can help you in order to determine if the attorney is the right one for you.
- How Often Would You Hear From the Attorney?
As the attorney is competent, he or she should be able to handle the case. Therefore, the attorney should only contact you periodically when needed and not regularly. However, the attorney should contact you in order to keep you updated regarding your case and its progress. Find an attorney who communicates with you.
- What Would Be My Obligations?
It is vital to know about your obligations beforehand to ensure that everything is covered on your part. The attorney should let you know regarding your obligations such as which documents need to be provided and if there is a need to testify. Moreover, you are required to tell your side of the story completely to the attorney in order for the attorney to protect you. The information that you share with the attorney is protected under attorney-client privilege.