You may need to hire a criminal attorney, but before you do, there are some questions that you should ask in order to understand the complexity of the law, how the attorney will handle your case, and even to get to know him or her and to determine if the attorney is the best fit for your case.
If you have been charged with a crime, then you know time is important. And time can be on your side the sooner you work with a reliable and experienced attorney. You will also have a better chance of an acquittal, plea deal or other legal solution.
But in order to find the best possible criminal defense attorney to represent you and fight your rights, here are six questions you should ask
Question 1: What Paperwork Do You Need From Me? You can start by bringing any correspondence, possible forms of evidence, and anything you feel might be pertinent or necessary for your case to your initial consultation with your criminal defense attorney. This is also a good time to see if there is any other paperwork he or she would need for your file.
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Some examples of other forms of paper work could include:
- A list of witnesses
- A copy of the police report related to your crime or accident
- Bail bond papers
- The names of any defendants and victim
Question 2: What is Your Experience and Background? When working with an attorney, you will need to gather as much information as possible. Find out if the lawyer has tried any similar cases. For example, if you have a DUI charge, you wouldn't need an attorney that handles murder cases. The attorney should go over his or her track record, experience going to trial, and even his or her experience overall. An experienced attorney will also want to talk about the negotiation process.
Question 3: What Are My Legal Options? No matter what crime you have been charged with, you still want your criminal defense lawyer to provide expectations. You want to know your legal options and any recommendations pertaining to your case as well as the possible legal outcomes. A good criminal attorney will also alert you if he or she notices any potential problems with your case.
A good attorney will all discuss what you can expect at various stages in the legal process, such as:
- Filing motions
- The arraignment
- Hearing of motions
- The trial
Question 4: How Will You Manage My Case? Managing your case is also an important aspect. The attorney should explain availability in representing you and who will appear in court on your behalf. Find out the best way to contact the lawyer for a quick response or if you have to go through a specific staff member to ask about your case.
Question 5: What Are the Legal Fees? Now that you have the lawyer sitting in front of you, it is time to ask questions about what you have always been curious about – the fees. The attorney should explain whether fees are charged by a flat or hourly rate. An explanation of the specific amount as it relates to the hourly rate and the flat fee rate will be addressed.
Question 6: What Are My Chances for Acquittal or Plea Deal? Every victim will want to know their chances of getting a fair trial. You will want to know if the attorney can speculate or assess the facts of your case and provide an honest answer to the potential of an acquittal or plea deal.
Consult With an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
The attorney may have to wait until a meeting with the prosecution or during the discovery process to give you a definitive opinion. However, the attorney can make a professional determination from looking at the facts of the case.
After you meet with the attorney and get the essential answers to your questions, it is time to make a decision on which one you will have represent you in a court of law. Remember, this is one of the most important decisions you will make in regards to your legal situation. Make it a good one.