Most people don’t have the name and number of a criminal defense attorney in their contact list – unless they are personal friends.
Most people don’t have to worry about getting arrested. In the rare event that you have been charged with a crime or arrested, you’ll need a criminal defense attorney to help you out. A good criminal defense attorney will explain your rights during the criminal process from start to finish. Having this knowledge can help make the difference between a dismissal, plea bargain, or a jail sentence.
Below you’ll find important information that you’ll need to know before hiring a criminal defense lawyer.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged or arrested for a crime is a serious matter. If you are facing criminal charges, you are at the risk of severe penalties and consequences, such as having a criminal record and jail time, among other things. While some legal matters can be handled alone, having a qualified criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.
If you’re facing criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney can help you understand:
- The nature of the charges filed
- Any available defenses
- What plea bargains might be offered
- What is expected after conviction or trial
Civil vs. Criminal Court Cases
The United States court system is divided into two different sectors: criminal and civil justice systems.
In the criminal court, it’s the government who is bringing the charges against a defendant. In a civil court, it’s a citizen bringing a case against another citizen. Criminal court cases and civil court cases have different burdens of proof, punishments, and laws that they must adhere to.
For instance, a person in a criminal court case has the possible punishment of going to prison, in a civil court case this punishment isn’t available.
There are some cases when civil court cases follow criminal court cases, such as police misconduct and wrongful death cases.
Picking the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
There are over one million active attorneys in the United States. So, how do you go about picking the best criminal defense attorney when there are so many to choose from? Below you’ll find a list of six tips to help you pick the best attorney for you.
Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Needs
Choosing a lawyer isn’t always about picking the best criminal defense lawyer. While you want to find a good lawyer, you also need to find someone who is the best for you and your needs.
You want to find an attorney whom you can understand – someone that talks your language and takes time to explain your options. Try to look for a criminal defense attorney who will act as an advisor and whom you feel comfortable with.
It’s also important to find someone who has a good grasp on criminal defense law and how best to win cases.
Find an Attorney with the Right Experience
Not all criminal defense attorneys specialize in the same sector of the law. Some specialize in driving under the influence (DUI) and others who specialize in murder – so you need to find one who is educated in line with your needs.
For instance, if you are being tried for a violent crime, you don’t want to hire a DUI lawyer. This is because DUI lawyers are trained to deal with DUI cases, so they might not be able to do much for you in any other type of criminal case.
If you need a DUI lawyer, you want to find someone near you – think, “Where can I find the best DUI lawyer near me?” There are plenty of attorneys nearby who are always willing to take on your case and help you win.
Check Their Team
Criminal defense attorneys don’t prep cases by themselves; they have a team of people who help them out. Check to see whether they have an administrative team; or paralegals and other Houston criminal defense attorneys backing up your attorney.
This is incredibly important because what happens if your attorney gets sick. Will he have another person from his team to step in and take over? Will they be prepared for the job? Ask to meet the other team members and ask them about their skills and experience. You want a team that can handle anything that is thrown at them.
Find a great criminal defense lawyer, and you’ll find a reputation to match. When searching for a criminal lawyer, a great starting point is asking associates and friends for recommendations – then ask for references and talk with previous clients if you can.
Great lawyers have a reputation within their profession, so we recommend asking other lawyers to recommend criminal defense attorneys. You don’t need to ask a criminal lawyer for recommendations; anyone in the law field will be able to help you find a good criminal defense lawyer.
Find Someone Who Is Confident but Doesn’t Give Guarantees
You want a criminal attorney who is confident that they will be able to build the strongest case for you. An air of confidence if a desirable trait in a lawyer but be skeptical of any lawyer who tries to guarantee you a certain result.
The law isn’t predictable; even the best lawyer can’t predict the exact outcome of a case. Don’t hire a lawyer who promises to get you the best result.
Take Your Time and Choose Carefully
Facing criminal charges can feel daunting, but you can find a criminal defense attorney who can help you get through the charges. You might even be able to find the best help to get the best outcome of your case – they might even be able to get you an expunged record (your arrest and conviction records are sealed).
Getting the best criminal lawyer is going to take time, and it’s important to spend time and effort to research your options to select the right lawyer for you.