Did you know that a bad lawyer can actually get you a death penalty?
A competent criminal lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. They have the necessary qualifications and experience needed to defend you. They’re also aware of all the nuances of criminal law.
However, with so many criminal lawyers in the market, a little help will go a long way in hiring the right one.
Fortunately, we have compiled the seven mistakes to avoid when hiring a criminal lawyer.
1. Hiring an Attorney Who Doesn’t Specialize in Criminal Law
Hiring an attorney who specializes in criminal defense guarantees you a professional who’s competent in what they do.
A criminal law specialist is an even better choice. They are preferred because they have:
- Passed a written exam
- More years of experience in criminal law
- Good reviews from their peers and court judges
- Additional training in criminal law
Unfortunately, most of them specialize in two or more specialties. That’s why a criminal lawyer is always a better choice.
Ensure you ask your prospective lawyer how many criminal cases they’ve handled or won. This way, you’ll know what you can expect from them.
2. Hiring an Inexperienced Criminal Lawyer
A criminal case requires an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Don’t be persuaded to hire a new attorney on the basis of saving on the legal fees.
In the same breath, don’t hire an inexperienced criminal law attorney just because they’re your friend or relative. You can’t afford to gamble with your freedom in the name of doing favors for your friends.
The more years of experience the criminal lawyer has, the better.
Be aware that some law firms will use the number of years they have been in operation as their experience years. Thus, it’s important to ask the specific lawyer you intend to hire how many years he/she has specialized in criminal law.
3. Focusing Only on the Cost and the Size of the Firm
Due to money constraints, many people make the mistake of hiring the cheapest lawyers they can find. However, cheaper doesn’t mean better. Similarly, the most expensive lawyers aren’t necessarily the best.
While the size of the firm matters, a one-lawyer law firm may give more attention to your case. But it may also mean that the lawyer is inexperienced. On the other hand, a bigger law firm may have more experienced lawyers, but they may also be too busy to handle your case.
The cost and the size of the firm are important factors to consider. However, they shouldn’t override experience, reputation, certification, and specialty.
4. Not Doing Enough Research
Don’t settle on the first lawyer you come in contact with. Research your options.
There are different ways to find information about criminal lawyers including:
- Reviews from customers or trusted contacts who have dealt with the lawyer
- Visiting the lawyer’s website
- Conducting phone or face-to-face interviews before hiring
- Get information from your local bar association
- Visit your local law library
Proper research will help you know the comprehensive services the lawyer offers.
Additionally, it’ll give you an idea of how much you’re supposed to pay for the services. Research also helps you know the experience and track record of the lawyer.
5. Hiring a Former Prosecutor as Your Defense Attorney
A criminal lawyer who once served as a district attorney does bring some advantages in your case.
For starters, they understand both sides of the courtroom. They know how the prosecutor will collect and present evidence in court. This will allow them to come up with a solid defense against such evidence.
Additionally, they have enough court experience. There are so many criminal lawyers who have never set foot in court. If your case proceeds to trial, a former prosecutor’s court experience will be immensely useful.
Former prosecutors will also have a reputation with the local courts. Having tried many cases there, they’ll be familiar with how the judges conduct their cases.
Based on this knowledge, they’ll give you proper advice when it comes to going to trial or opting for a resolution through a plea.
6. Sticking With a Bad Criminal Lawyer
Some of the red flags that may show that you’re dealing with a bad lawyer include poor communication, being unenthusiastic about your case, overbilling or slapped with many hidden charges, and unethical behaviors.
In these instances, you may want to fire your lawyer. Ensure you get the judge’s permission if you need it.
Sometimes, firing your lawyer may delay your case. In this case, you can try dialogue. Tell your lawyer how you feel and try to come to an understanding.
If you can’t resolve the issue amicably, you can file a complaint with your local bar association.
7. Failure to Understand the Important Details
Before you decide to hire a lawyer, understand all the facts surrounding your agreement.
Know when the lawyer is supposed to update you, the total cost the lawyer will charge, the number of hours they’ll work on your case, and what the lawyer will need from you.
In case you’re in doubt about something, it’s best to ask.
What’s more, ask for a written agreement before you start working together for easy operations.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer from Madrid Law
If you’re looking for an experienced, competent criminal lawyer, look no further. Madrid Law’s Mario Madrid has over two decades of experience in criminal law.
Additionally, his former experience as a prosecutor in Texas assures you that he’ll put together the best defense for your case.
If you want more details on how we can help you with your criminal case, don’t hesitate to contact us today.