When facing criminal charges, the type of criminal lawyer you recruit to represent you both outside and inside court matters. The fact is, that while any practicing lawyer might be happy to take on your case ($cha-ching$) they may not be ideally suited to your situation or have the right experience, contacts, or education to follow through.
That’s why shopping around for the right lawyer is key, not just for your own chances at a fair settlement, but also so you’re not wasting precious time and money hiring the wrong criminal lawyer.
How much experience do you have?
This should be your first question. Experience is everything when it comes to criminal law, and a lawyer without experience will often fail to grasp every aspect of the case. When you’re doing research – lookout for lawyers that have been in the game long enough to know the courts, the local magistrates and effectively navigate through the legal system with confidence and ease. Ask about education too. Often lawyers will have a solid legal education, but looking out for those who have attended prestigious schools often shows that their legal aptitude. The more experience a lawyer has – the more expensive it’ll be – but as the saying goes: you get what you pay for.
Can I see your case history?
This is important to know. Sometimes lawyers will run up a long history of settling cases before they actually go to trial – which is often good for their clients but this can leave some layers lacking any actual courtroom experience. Going to trial is stressful. You want to be sure they’re on their A-game when it comes to researching the right witnesses, and doing their share of research and background preparation. Asking to see what cases they’ve taken on isn’t too forward either – it’ll give you a snapshot of what cases they’ve dealt with and where they ended up.
What areas of law do you specialize in?
Often lawyers will gravitate towards a specific type of legal field – often dealing with similar cases day in, day out. This is actually a good thing because it means when you find your expert – they’ll have a better understanding of the broader legal context and have more experience working on your case. Remember just because they’ve studied a particular area of law – doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to blow away the jury at trial. Actual hands-on experience with a variety of cases within a particular context is what you want to look out for.
How often will you communicate with me?
When you’re accused of a crime, there’s nothing more stressful than not knowing the facts and being left in the dark about where your case is at. A good criminal lawyer will communicate clearly from the beginning and set expectations on how and when you will be informed about updates and happenings in your case. A bad lawyer will not communicate effectively throughout the process, often forget to call or remind you about appointments.
How long do you think my case will take?
When it comes to managing your case, you’ll want to be informed about how long it may take. Even though it’s almost impossible to say exactly, (legal proceedings can often drag on if new evidence is found or the court pushes back your trial date), a good criminal lawyer will communicate in clear terms the timeframe and estimated length of a given case. This is always helpful because it allows you time to prepare and organize effectively.
How much is this going to cost me?
A good criminal lawyer should give you a clear indication not just how much it is likely to cost. They should also give specific details on how their rate will be calculated. There are many different pricing structures out there, and different firms will quote differently. Depending on your case, you might be offered a flat figure, with some room for variation. You must have a clear idea about how you’re being charged by a lawyer, don’t move forward or sign before you understand.
What are my chances of winning?
Lawyers will always be cautious when asked this question, and rightfully so. But at the same time, they shouldn’t altogether avoid the question. A good criminal lawyer will answer honestly and clearly how they see your case unravelling. They should also detail how they will assist you in getting a better deal. You should always be honest with your lawyer – that way they can work with all the facts and tackle your case more effectively.
If you’re facing criminal charges or worry that you may be questioned by police – it’s important to get the right legal assistance moving forward. Contact a criminal lawyer today and give yourself the best chance at a fair deal.