Hiring a criminal defense attorney isn’t exactly a subject anyone is excited to learn about. But let’s cut to the chase – if you need legal representation in a criminal defense case, it’s vital to hire the best lawyer you can find.
That said, there are over 1.35 million practicing attorneys in the US. With so many to choose from, how can you be sure that you’ve chosen the best criminal defense lawyer to handle your case?
While fees and TV commercials might sway your decision, it’s more important to look for the key characteristics that top criminal defense attorneys all share.
Keep reading to learn the five things you should expect from your criminal defense lawyer.
1. Practice Area Expertise
It’s always a good idea to take the years of experience a lawyer has into account. Although, lots of experience doesn’t always mean they’re the best lawyer for you.
What you should focus on instead is expertise and specific experience in cases like yours.
That means making sure criminal defense is at least their specialty. An attorney who focuses on criminal defense will be more up to date on criminal law, as well as more familiar with the proceedings in criminal courts.
What’s more, criminal defense attorneys often have niche areas of expertise, such as DUI cases or sexual assault. Before you contact potential lawyers, check their website for criminal law areas of practice. This will let you know whether they focus on the type of charges you’re facing.
Follow this up by asking in more detail about their experience and success rate in cases like yours. That also means asking about their experience in either state or federal cases, depending on the court system you’re facing charges in.
2. Local Experience
As well as familiarity with criminal law and the type of charges you’re facing, you should try to find a lawyer who regularly practices in your area.
Although local experience is often overlooked, finding an attorney who is familiar with the court you’re going to can make a huge difference to your case. For example, if you’re facing a DWI, a lawyer with good local knowledge might know that it’s best to avoid a certain judge who tends to be harsh on drunk-driving offenses.
Also, by finding a lawyer who practices in your area, it’ll be easier for you to find out more about their reputation and whether they’re well-respected locally.
It stands to reason that you want to hire a lawyer who has your back. After all, what is a defense attorney for if not to defend your best interests when facing criminal charges?
But, you also want a lawyer who tells it like it is. That might mean giving you a reality check about the seriousness of the charges you’re facing, as well as being upfront about everything, from fee arrangements to possible sentencing.
A good lawyer should also keep checking in with you to make sure you understand everything that’s happening. That includes outlining all the steps of your case so you know what to expect. And, clear and consistent insights throughout the trial will make it a lot easier for you to know whether to accept a plea deal or not.
As well as clarity, you want a criminal defense attorney who’s responsive from the start. If you have to wait around for an initial appointment with them, that suggests a lack of communication within their practice, which is one of the key signs of a bad lawyer.
In contrast, if they’re quick to answer your first contact, they’re likely to be just as on the ball when it comes to putting together a case for your defense. Time is of the essence during a criminal case. As such, the quicker you and your attorney can get to work mounting your defense, the better your chances will be.
The same goes for those times you have questions or doubts about your case. You should feel comfortable asking your attorney for more information and be sure that you’ll get a full and accurate answer within an agreed-upon time frame.
5. Enthusiasm and Confidence
It’s important to remember that the attorney you choose will be speaking for you in court. As such, you should like the way your lawyer presents themselves as your choice of attorney will reflect directly on you.
And, while court cases aren’t the personality competitions that TV shows about lawyers would have you believe, there’s more chance that your lawyer will win for you if they have a winning personality.
A good criminal lawyer should be confident without being cocky. This kind of quiet confidence ensures that they’re prepared to conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf and will work hard to defend you.
Confidence and hard work go a long way in the courtroom too. During trials, attorneys have to think on their feet and construct convincing arguments. And, if you find them reassuring and knowledgeable, it’s likely that judges and juries will think the same.
Top criminal defense attorneys should also show sincere passion and enthusiasm for their work. Years of experience are worth nothing if your lawyer seems burned out and lacks interest. Instead, they should be eager to get stuck into defending you and building the best case they can.
Your Guide to Hiring the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing criminal defense charges, make it your priority to find an attorney with these five characteristics.
As a result, you’ll feel reassured at every step of the way that you’ve put your trust in the best criminal defense lawyer for you.
Contact us at Mario Madrid Law to get in touch with Houston’s best lawyer today!