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5 Tips for Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

No one wants to be arrested, but that scenario often occurs across the United States. 

One source notes there are over 10 million arrests in the U.S. annually. That’s a lot of people who find themselves put in handcuffs, stuffed into the back of a police cruiser, and taken to jail. While many arrests are warranted, others are often misunderstandings that get resolved. Whether guilty or not guilty, you need a criminal defense lawyer if facing criminal charges.

Here are five things to consider when seeking a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

1. Find Someone Who’s Responsive

When facing criminal charges, you need a responsive criminal defense attorney. Call criminal defense lawyers on your shortlist of candidates and observe how they treat you. Do they treat your situation with the seriousness they should? Do you get the impression that you’re in the right hands? How soon after you call different lawyers do they take to set up initial in-person consultations? If the lawyers or their representatives take forever to get back to you, can you be sure things will change if you retain them to represent you? Probably not. Don’t just go by research. Trust your intuition as you seek legal representation. 

2. Find Someone With Local Court Experience

Hire a criminal defense attorney with experience representing clients in local courts. That might not seem like a big deal. But sometimes the little things make a big difference. Lawyers who represent people in local courts day in and day out form relationships that can help tip the scales of justice in your favor. Specifically, such lawyers can build a better case for you when familiar with the prosecution and the judges -- and their peculiarities and habits. 

Some judges, for instance, are easier to work with than others. Criminal defense lawyers who know the lay of the land, so to speak, will be better equipped to navigate the complicated and time-intensive court process to help you come out on top.

3. Find Someone Focused on Criminal Law 

While some lawyers dabble in various areas of the law without specializing in any specific area, your best bet is to find a criminal defense attorney who is a criminal law specialist. That expertise can factor into a better criminal defense strategy that helps you avoid fines and incarceration. When so much is at stake, you’ll want the help that only a criminal defense lawyer focused on criminal law can provide. It can be the difference between freedom and incarceration.

4. Find Someone With a Good Reputation

A good reputation is also vital. That’s one reason you should check out online reviews. Don’t just look at one or two online reviews. Check a handful to get a better overview of legal professionals in the area. You can see which lawyers get the most good reviews, what clients say about them, and more. Reading online reviews can help you decide which lawyer to retain for your criminal defense. It’s a resource you shouldn’t pass up.

5. Find Someone With a Transparent Billing Structure

Find a criminal defense lawyer with a transparent fee structure. Otherwise, you might end up with nasty surprises when you get the bill. Ask how much legal services will cost and when the fee is due. You also need to know if you’ll be charged by the case or hourly. What other expenses may factor into the final amount? Ask the right questions to get answers. A good lawyer will offer this information without you having to force the issue. It’s about transparency.

These are some things to consider when seeking a criminal law attorney. While hoping you never have to call a lawyer for help, it’s good to know what to do just in case the unthinkable occurs.