Facing a criminal charge can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether the crime is a misdemeanor, felony, or a traffic violation, there is the possibility of being slapped with a hefty criminal fine or serving jail time or both. Being a defendant of the crime, you need to take matters seriously and hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Finding a criminal defense lawyer can be challenging if you do not know one. Also, you only have a limited time to find yourself a defense attorney who will investigate your case, represent you in the court of law, and help protect your legal rights. Fortunately, there are various tips and resources available for finding an excellent criminal defense lawyer.
Search for Lawyers Online
Time is of the essence when it comes to looking for a defense attorney to handle your case. Instead of visiting different law firms or calling friends who might know of a reliable lawyer, connect to the internet immediately and search for the best criminal defense lawyers in your area. Seasoned law professionals at The Keating Firm LTD recommend that you check out the websites of the lawyers. You will get a clear overview of what cases the lawyer handles and what their specializations are. Be objective and cautious with your search, as not all attorneys who appear on the top search results may not be the best. The next things you need to check are the qualifications and achievements of the lawyer. Inquire how long they have been actively practicing criminal law, how many cases they have handled, and what high-profile cases they have handled. Another factor worth considering is the legal training or background as a prosecutor or public defender.
You will also have to check the reviews and comments from their clients. The different testimonials and notes the clients tell will broaden your insight on how lawyers interact with their clients and handle the cases.
Request for Referrals or Word-of-Mouth Suggestions
Experience can be a significant indicator of how lawyers make a lasting impression on their clients. Clients mostly remember the best and the worst-performing law professionals and rarely recall those who gave a mediocre performance. If you want to ask friends or relatives who have been in a criminal case in the past, you can expect their answers to be which lawyer to avoid and which lawyer to choose based on their experiences with their lawyers. Better yet, if you have a friend who works in the judiciary field or is also a lawyer, they can recommend a colleague or two who they think have excellent track records or have the specialization that best fits your case.
Narrow Your Search to Experience and Specialization
While searching for lawyers online can help you find potential candidates fast, you still have to filter these results according to what case you are charged with and how you want your case to be handled. Some clients need regular interaction and updates from their legal counsel, while others place their confidence in their lawyers and contact them only when needed. Look for lawyers who specialize in criminal law. They have most likely handled various types of criminal cases, where some of them could be similar to yours.
Adding to the fine-tuning of your search is the experience of a criminal defense lawyer. How long a defense lawyer has been handling cases indicates how well they know about the nuances of criminal law. Experience also helps them devise excellent strategies and defenses for your case. Experienced lawyers also develop extensive local connections and relationships, which can work in your favor during the proceedings.
Don’t Undervalue Public Defenders
As a defendant in a criminal case, you have the constitutional right to an attorney. In situations where you cannot afford to pay for a private lawyer, the state will provide and pay an attorney on your behalf. An attorney from the local Public Defender’s Office is typically appointed to represent you in court. Just because you are provided a public defender doesn’t mean you are at a legal disadvantage. What most people do not know is that public defenders are among the most well-versed and best trained in criminal law. They may even have handled more cases than most private attorneys. Also, being paid by the government doesn’t mean their quality of work is not satisfactory. They are mandated by the government to protect the legal rights of criminal defendants who are legally indigent, and they are committed to fulfilling that mission at all times. Consider it a blessing in disguise if you are assigned with a public defender. You can get quality representation and defense and use your financial resources for your bail instead.
Being entangled in a criminal case is the last anyone would get themselves into. Unfortunately, there can be circumstances and lapses in good judgment that can lead people to commit or be involved in crimes. Even as a criminal case defendant, you deserve the best legal service you can get, which is why you need to find a seasoned and reliable criminal defense lawyer. Thankfully, finding a lawyer nowadays is as stressful as several years back. There are various convenient ways you can find a lawyer who can defend you and ensure that you get a fair trial and well-deserved justice.