When you are facing criminal charges, the criminal defense lawyer you choose to represent you is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You need to go beyond searching for attorneys near you with the right credentials and dig deeper to find out if you have the right match.
Many criminal defense attorneys will be qualified to advocate for you. However, you need to feel comfortable with this person as you’ll be working closely with them throughout the duration of your case. This is why you should sit down with the attorneys you’re considering in a free initial consultation.
You can find out what the lawyer thinks of your situation and see how they can help you during a consultation. You will also get a feel for their personality and understand more about their fees. It’s always best to look for criminal defense lawyers who offer free case evaluations as a way to discover who will be the right advocate for you.
While you’re there, you should ask the following questions to ensure you’re making the best choice in your defense.
1Do You Only Focus on Criminal Law?
Some lawyers wear multiple hats and cover a variety of areas of the law. It may sound impressive, but dabbling in different fields of law may mean they lack the specialization needed for criminal law.
When it comes to fighting criminal charges and protecting your freedom, you want someone who knows criminal law inside and out. The attorney you choose should have experience being in criminal courts on a regular basis. They should also have experience representing cases that are similar to yours. Look for an attorney who only focuses on criminal defense and you’ll be taking a step in the right direction.
2How Much Are Your Fees?
While it’s true that you can have a public defender take on your case for free, it’s ill-advised. It’s not that public defenders don’t work hard. It’s that public defenders are often overworked and have more cases than they can handle. The right criminal defense attorney will have enough time to formulate a strong defense and ensure your legal rights are not violated.
You’re going to have to pay a criminal defense attorney, so it is reasonable to ask about their fees. Some will charge on an hourly basis from an initial retainer while others charge a fixed or flat fee. You may find that someone who charges a fixed rate is best because you’ll know upfront how much it will cost to have this lawyer defend you against your charges.
3Have You Ever Represented a Case Like Mine, and What Is Your Opinion on the Potential Outcome?
As you talk to each criminal defense lawyer, you will want to know if they have handled other cases that are similar to yours. It would not benefit you if you were accused of theft to work with an attorney who has only represented people facing DUI charges.
Lawyers who have represented similar cases will know how to approach yours and create a strong strategy. However, be cautious if any attorney ever guarantees you a specific outcome. There are far too many variables that can change the outcome of a criminal case to guarantee success.
Attorneys that give you the full spectrum of potential outcomes from worst to best are ideal because they’re being realistic and not promising you a win. While getting you out of this situation is their goal, the best thing they can do is let you know their strategy and how they plan to handle your case.
4Will You Be the One Handling My Case?
Plenty of defendants have been caught off guard after retaining a defense attorney from a large firm when they discover the attorney gives their case to a junior associate. Whether you choose to work with a big or small firm, it’s important to have clarity on who will be by your side representing you. Make sure to confirm that the attorney you’re sitting with during your consultation will be the one representing you.
5How Accessible Will You Be to Me?
No matter the type of criminal charges you are facing, there is little doubt that this time of your life is stressful. You may have several questions and may be afraid of what will happen. While your attorney will never be able to guarantee a no-worries outcome, being able to communicate with them when you have questions is important.
Ask about how responsive they are as well. You want someone who will not leave you wondering what is going on with your case. Some attorneys will have an answering service while others will give you a direct access way to contact them at any time. Keep in mind that even the hardest-working attorneys may not be able to pick up your call every time, but they should always get back to you in a reasonable timeframe.
Other Questions You Can Ask Your Defense Attorney
You may want to dig even deeper and find out how often this attorney has had successful outcomes and ask to see client testimonials. Remember, this will not guarantee your case will work out the same. It will serve to give you more information about how the attorney works toward a solution.
You can also ask whether they think the case may go to trial or if it can be resolved outside the courtroom. Ultimately, you will want to put together a full list of all your questions and take notes. This will help you decide which criminal defense lawyer to hire.
These are just a few of the questions and factors that you should consider asking when looking for a Denver criminal lawyer to represent your case. Keep in mind that the free initial consultation will be relatively brief, so having an idea of what to ask will help you make the most of this conversation.