Every year, thousands of people are arrested and charged with crimes that could devastate their life, family, and future. In reality, not every crime is treated the same, and not all criminal attorneys can offer each client the best possible outcome they deserve. Understandably, there are three main criminal case types: misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes.
There are federal crimes and state crimes. Federal crimes are typically more severe than state-level criminal offenses because the punishments for breaking federal laws can include fines, prison time, or death penalty sentences.
In today’s day and age, everyone needs to know how to find a good lawyer near them. Whether facing a felony charge in a court of law or suing an insurance company for a personal injury, having a criminal defense lawyer experienced in their field is critical. However, finding a good criminal defense lawyer can be difficult when thousands of lawyers are available in any given city.
Most importantly, most criminal attorneys focus their practice on one type of law and possess more specialized knowledge in that area than other types of attorneys. Not all criminal cases will require a full trial, as most cases can be resolved through plea bargaining, short-term incarceration such as probation or house arrest, or dismissal of charges by a good criminal lawyer.
Every day, all over the United States innocent people are arrested and thrown in jail. It has been reported that about 66% of all people currently incarcerated in county jails around the nation have yet to be tried. For them, the phrase, “Innocent until proven guilty” means nothing. If you have been arrested for any criminal offense, one of the first things you need to do is find the right criminal defense law firm for your case. How do you do that? Here are some tips to help:
- Talk to people you know. In the United States, it has been reported that every 20 seconds someone is arrested. That means that there is a decent chance you know someone who either has been arrested and needed the help of a criminal defense law firm or they know someone who has. The best way to get good products and services is to get a good recommendation from a person you know and trust. Even if you do not go with the criminal defense attorney that your friend or family member hired, you can get a good list to start with.
- Get professional references. If you have used any kind of lawyer before, you should talk to them about criminal defense lawyers. You can also talk to the local chapter of the American Bar Association or look at their list of criminal defense law firms in your area. You can also spend some time looking at reviews of law firms in your city.
- Get the right kind of lawyer. Just like medical professionals, legal experts specialize. Even under the umbrella of criminal defense attorneys, there are specialists. There are DUI lawyers and those who specialize in a number of other crimes ranging from assault to murder.
- Go in for the free first consults. Get your questions answered. Law firms all over the United States offer a free first-time consultation to prospective clients. This helps them get to know you and your case and helps you evaluate them. Make sure you get all of your questions answered. Here are a few to ask:
- Why did you go into criminal defense law? There are a lot of legal specialties out there. You want your legal representation to be passionate about their work and defending their clients.
- How long have you practiced? How much time do you spend on these cases? It is good to have someone with a decent amount of experience dealing with criminal justice cases. At the same time, it is something they should deal with often. Doing one case a year for a decade is not a good sign.
- How much with this cost me? It is really important to know what kind of fees you will have to pay and when. Every law firm can determine its own rate and approach so make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into financially. If the firm is not clear with its billing policy, move on.
- Talk to at least three law firms. It can be easy to hire the first criminal defense law firm you talk to. Many people want the process to be over as soon as possible but this is a real mistake. You have no way to really know what your options are. You may also get a different perspective on the outcome of your case. You will be in a better position to pick the right criminal defense law firm if you have interviewed at least three.
- Hire the firm you feel most comfortable with. The criminal defense lawyer you hire is not there to be your therapist but you have to feel comfortable enough with them to be totally honest. You only hurt your attorney’s chances of getting you the outcome you need if you can communicate with them.
Having the right criminal defense law firm by your side can make a real difference, not only in the outcome of your case but in the amount of stress you and your family will experience during the process. Taking some time to research and talk to criminal defense lawyers in your area will help you feel confident that you will get the representation you need.