How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney

by kdhewatt on November 8, 2012

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Most people try their best to avoid any run-ins with the law, but unfortunately, this is not always possible. A person can be in the wrong place at the wrong time or even be falsely accused of a crime. Even people who do commit crimes deserve a proper legal defense. It’s sad that many individuals opt to stick with the legal counsel provided by the court, and this is not often an effective way to get qualified legal representation. If someone is accused of a crime, they should hire their own lawyer, and there are several things that they should do when choosing a criminal defense attorney.

Research Criminal Defense Lawyers

The first step to finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer is conducting some research. Internet search engines can provide information on all of an area’s defense attorneys. This is a simple way for a person to find their list of options.

It is also possible to contact the local bar association for lists of nearby attorneys. Family and friends are also a great source of information on attorneys. If a loved one has had an experience with a criminal defense lawyer, they likely won’t shy away from sharing this information.

Ask about Qualifications and Education

Once a person has narrowed down their list of potential lawyers, they need to set up a time to meet with each one. One of the most important things to inquire about during this interview is a lawyers education. According to our law firm Howell and Christmas a legitimate attorney will have graduated from an accredited law school and be licensed to practice within the state.

It’s also important to ask about qualifications such as whether or not the attorney has experience in the specific type of case being presented to them. A lawyer may be exceptionally experienced in traffic citation cases, but this doesn’t mean that they can handle a homicide case with ease. A person should find a lawyer that has exceptional experience in defending people who were charged with the same crime.

Many individuals sometimes fail to look for another important qualification: people skills. This is one of the most vital skills a lawyer can have. They must constantly work with witnesses (both friendly and hostile), judges, juries and other attorneys. If an attorney doesn’t seem to be good with people during an initial consultation, it may be best to simply move on to the next lawyer on the list.

Ask for References

A qualified and professional attorney will leave a trail of satisfied clients in their wake, so it is important to ask if a lawyer is willing to provide a list of references from their recent clients list. This will allow an individual to speak with people who have had experience with the lawyer and gauge their satisfaction with the outcome. A lawyer who will not provide references should be avoided.

Being charged with any type of criminal offense is a serious matter, so it is important for anyone involved in this situation to treat it with the respect that it demands. This is not a time to go for the cheapest possible lawyer due to the possible consequences of a criminal conviction. The fines, probation fees and other repercussions related to a conviction will far outweigh the costs of enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to handle a criminal case. Knowing how to choose a good attorney, however, is absolutely vital.

Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for Howell and Christmas, a law firm that has unique experience in personal injury, worker’s compensation, and criminal defense. The attorneys at Howell and Christmas have a number one goal in criminal cases- to get an acquittal and have arrest records destroyed. If this is not possible Howell and Christmas will aggressively defend your case and try to achieve a beneficial outcome for you and your family. The firm offers a free consultation for all new criminal cases.




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