If you are facing charges and accused of committing a crime, you have the right to get your lawyer to defend you in court. Hiring a lawyer for a criminal case is very important because he is the one who will help you get through this legal battle and present the evidence to free you from legal implications.
Here is the guide to help you in hiring a lawyer for a criminal case:
• Find the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Choose a lawyer who is familiar with the kind of case you are facing. If your offense is against the state law, you need an attorney who specializes in cases such as breach of contracts, traffic violations, family disputes and robbery. If you are charged with federal violation or cases such as bankruptcy, patent or copyright offenses, and violation of US Constitution, you need a federal lawyer. Federal cases are more complex and need lawyers with a good reputation in handling these cases. You need a seasoned and credible criminal defense lawyer to handle your case for better chances of winning.
• Choose a competent lawyer who specializes in the defense you need. Look for special designations that will prove his credibility and expertise in cases like yours. He can expertly help you understand the nature of the charges against you, possible and available defenses, plea-bargains that will be offered to you and what will be the outcome in the case of conviction.
• A good defense lawyer knows how to identify essential pre-trial issues that will improve your situation to the extent of dismissal of charges. Select someone who has a reputation of making sound negotiations during plea bargaining and prepare the defense moves before the trial. Here are some positive things an expert criminal defense attorney can make: (1) reduction of the criminal charge to a lesser offense; (2) elimination of jail time such as probation and (3) reduction of punishment.
• Choose an attorney who can represent you even in higher court. These lawyers are called appellate attorneys who are more experienced and certified to handle appeals on decisions done by lower courts. It is better if he has handled a lot of similar cases and has a list of successful court battles.
• Make sure that the lawyer is currently practicing criminal defense in the court where you will be tried. Criminal laws differ in different states as well as the penalties imposed. It is very vital that your defense lawyer knows the local rules of court in your state so he can represent your case expertly.
• To find the perfect defense lawyer, you can ask for referrals from relatives and friends. You can also check different lawyers’ online directories such as FindLaw and Lawyers.com. Another good way of choosing an ideal attorney to handle your case is to sit in court and look for a lawyer who can impress you with his ability to represent his client. Then make a professional background check if he is the one for you.
You can also check organizations of criminal defense lawyers in your area. Lawyers are usually members of County and State Bar Associations. If your choice is a member of National Association of Criminal Defense System or State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he is a very qualified candidate to represent you.
• Finally, call for an appointment. Check if you need to pay for the initial consultation. It is better if you can speak with him over the phone for initial questions. Trust your instinct when you finally meet your possible lawyer. If you are uncomfortable, do not hire him. If you think he is the best lawyer to handle your case, hire him. Make sure you understand the fee agreement contract before signing and get a copy.