Guide to Finding Criminal Attorneys
What is a Criminal Attorney?
A criminal attorney is a legal professional who represents clients in criminal matters. A criminal attorney may act as either a defense or prosecuting legal aid. The universal characteristic attached to all criminal attorneys is that they preside over serious/criminal infractions. A criminal attorney will litigate over cases involving violent crimes, such as rape or murder, or that deal massive amounts of fraud and thievery. Because of the severity associated with these charges, a criminal attorney will utilize a thorough knowledge of criminal law to either mitigate/expunge charges made against their clients or prosecute and convict individuals accused of breaking the law.
How do I Find a Criminal Attorney?
If you are convicted of a crime and have the funds to hire a criminal attorney, you must do so immediately. There are several ways to find suitable representation in a criminal case. Scouring the Internet for criminal attorneys in your area or heeding the advice of friends and family may be a solid starting point. However, in most instances, individuals facing criminal charges would like their situation private.
As such, it is recommended that you secure the aid of a criminal attorney by using one of several attorney directories online or by visiting your state’s BAR Association Website. Although Google searches seem informal, given the severity of the situation, all criminal attorneys and their representing law firms will be listed online. Utilize the
Internet, for it is the most efficient resource to connect you with legal help.
A criminal conviction has an attached statute of limitations—you must secure legal representation before your trial commences or else the state will grant you a public defender. Because of these time constraints it is important to rapidly evaluate criminal defense attorneys in your area. Your coordinating state BAR Association website will list all criminal defense attorneys in the underlying area, their experience, credentials and their discipline history if applicable.
Do I need a Specialist?
A criminal conviction will carry, at minimum, a hefty fine or a jail sentence. These charges are the most severe an individual can face. As such, it is necessary to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience with your particular legal dilemma. If you were caught with narcotics, hire a criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug laws; if you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter, hire a criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic laws or car accidents. Matching your situation with a specialized criminal defense attorney will help mitigate your sentence.
How Do I evaluate my Prospective Attorney’s Personality?
After gathering the names of prospective Criminal attorneys, you should contact each individual to schedule preliminary meetings, consultations or simply to discuss your legal situation. During these preliminary talks a Criminal attorney will decide whether your case is worth pursuing.
A Civil Criminal attorney will offer free consultations, while other legal professionals in the city will charge a fee for the discussion.
Consultations preview the Criminal attorney’s legal strategy. Moreover, they will provide a glimpse of the professional’s personality and effectiveness. During a consultation, you should take not of the following:
1. Does the Criminal attorney listen well?
2. Does the Criminal attorney seem honest?
3. Does he/she care about my legal endeavor?
4. Does the Criminal attorney explain the particulars of your case, including the laws and penalties?
5. Does the Criminal attorney instill confidence that your legal situation will be presided over in an efficient matter?
6. Is the Criminal’s staff/firm professional and courteous?
7. Are you able to freely communicate with the Criminal attorney?
8. Is the Criminal attorney affable?
9. Can you express your thoughts, including your opinions, worries and feelings concerning your case without feeling judged or uncomfortable?
Aside from evaluating these traits, you must acknowledge the Criminal attorney’s educational background and experience.
Experience, regardless of the laws in question, is the most telling characteristic: this attribute denotes a solid understanding concerning the laws of your case, reputability and general effectiveness. Educational background, although important, does not necessarily imply solid legal aid. However, a resume of impressive scholastic achievements denotes an assiduous work ethic.
Fees Associated with Criminal Attorney?
A Criminal attorney’s fees will vary based on his/her specialty, the complexity of the case, his/her experience and the type of legal matter presided over. That being said, Criminal attorneys will employ one of the following payment schedules:
Contingency Payment Schedules: Under this platform, a Criminal attorney will charge a percentage fee of a civil settlement, only if one is secured. If a settlement is not attained (if the case is lost) the Criminal attorney will not be paid.—in this situation, court fees are still required to be satisfied.
If a settlement is secured, Criminal attorneys will typically charge between 33%-50% of the settlement. Contingency fees are common in civil matters, such as personal injury suits and property damage cases. Criminal attorneys are prohibited from forming contingency agreements in criminal cases and child custody matters.
Flat Fee Payment Schedules: Under this model, Criminal attorneys will charge a lump-sum fee. Flat fees are common with straightforward cases.
Hourly Payment Schedules: This is the most common fee arrangement. Criminal attorneys will charge hourly for services rendered.
Retainer Payment Schedules: Under this arrangement, Criminal attorneys charge a flat fee that is to be paid prior to the delivery of legal services. The retainer serves as a down payment; it is placed in a separate account where the cost of legal aid is subtracted as such charges accrue.
Have you been charged with a crime? If so, you will probably need the services of a criminal law attorney. This attorney will represent you in court and try to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Criminal law attorneys are quite prevalent. You can open any phone book and find pages of advertisements. However, not all criminal law attorneys are experienced in a courtroom.
A criminal law attorney might specialize in several areas of the law, but most tend to focus on one type of case over another. For example, if you are facing a burglary charge, you certainly don’t want a criminal law attorney that only handles DUIs.
Criminal law attorneys will defend you against the charges you are facing. Depending on whether the case is a misdemeanor or a felony charge, your attorney may try to work towards a plea bargain with the prosecution. However, accepting this plea bargain is always your decision.
A criminal law attorney will review all of the evidence against you, including police and medical records, if applicable. There may be video surveillance, audio tapes, or forensic evidence. If necessary, your attorney may need to call on an expert to refute some of the evidence.
Hopefully, you never need the services of a criminal law attorney. However, if you do, make sure you choose one that has trial experience. One that is a regular in the court you will be in also won’t hurt. A good working relationship between the criminal law attorneys and the justice system personnel certainly doesn’t hurt.