I. Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to hire a top criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A good lawyer can help you understand your rights, negotiate a plea deal, or fight your case in court.
But how do you choose the right criminal defense lawyer for you? Here are the top five things to know before hiring a criminal defense attorney:
- Experience matters. When choosing a criminal defense attorney, it is important to choose one with experience in handling cases similar to yours. This means that they will be familiar with the laws that apply to your case and the strategies that are most likely to be successful. You can ask the attorney about their experience with cases like yours during your initial consultation. Ask about their education, how long they’ve been working as a criminal defense attorney, what relevant work experience they have (i.e. previously worked a public defender), etc.
- Reputation is important. It is also important to choose a criminal defense attorney with a good reputation. You can ask other attorneys, friends, and family members for recommendations. Online reviews are also a great resource for potential new clients. Check out the lawyer’s Google reviews, Yelp! reviews, and AVVO reviews. You will be able to see what previous clients thought of the attorney, what their experience was like, and whether they recommend him/her to others. Additionally, you can do
- Communication is key. It is important to feel comfortable communicating with your criminal defense attorney. You should be able to ask them any questions you have and feel confident that they will be responsive to your needs. While your communication with your criminal defense attorney is important, so is the communication with the office staff. Get a sense of the office’s supporting staff, how they treat you during your initial contact, and whether or not they followup with you when its necessary. Ask the various forms you can communicate with both the attorney and the staff, i.e. via email, text, phone, whatsapp, etc.
- Fees are important. Criminal defense attorneys can be expensive, so it is important to understand the lawyer’s fee structure before you hire them. Some lawyers charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee. In some instances, payment options are available, so it doesn’t hurt to inquire about that. Your retainer agreement should outline the fee structure and payment plan due dates if applicable.
- Gut feeling is important. Trust your gut feeling when it comes to choosing a criminal defense attorney. During your initial consultation, you’ll get a feel for how knowledgeable and experienced your attorney is. You will also get a quick sense of whether they are trustworthy and if they make you comfortable after speaking to him/her. If you don’t feel comfortable with a lawyer, don’t hire them.
II. Here are some additional tips for hiring a criminal defense attorney:
- Get everything in writing. Once you have chosen a criminal defense attorney, be sure to get everything in writing, including the fee agreement and the scope of their representation (usually in the form of a retainer agreement). This will help to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.
- Be honest with your attorney. It is important to be honest with your criminal defense attorney about all of the facts of your case. This will help them to develop the best possible defense strategy.
- Be prepared to work hard. Defending a criminal case can be a lot of work. Be prepared to work with your attorney to gather evidence, prepare for trial, and negotiate with the prosecutor if applicable.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an important decision. By following these tips, you can choose the right lawyer to help you through this difficult time.
III. We Can Help
If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in Southern California, we can help. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher has over 20 years experience successfully handling traffic tickets, DUI, suspended license, and other criminal defense cases. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.