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Guide to Finding Criminal Attorneys

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.

Guide to Finding Defense Attorneys

Guide to Finding Defense Attorneys

What is a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A criminal defense attorney is a legal representative who defends those convicted of criminal charges. Criminal defense attorneys preside over matters involved with criminal law. If you are convicted of any serious crime you should—given a healthy financial standing–hire a criminal defense attorney. Although you will have the ability to defend yourself, the likelihood of diminishing your charges is exponentially bolstered through the inclusion of a criminal defense attorney. 
Criminal defense attorneys utilize an exhaustive knowledge of criminal law to defend their clients. Following an exhausting evaluation of your case, a criminal defense attorney will build a defense to mitigate your charges. Regardless of the claims made against you, a criminal defense attorney will work to have your punishment reduced. If the evidence is stacked against you, a criminal defense attorney may ask for a plea deal. In this instance, the judge will reduce your sentence for a guilty plea.
Criminal defense attorneys aid you in the most stressful and life-altering moments of your existence. They are your beacon to freedom and your crutch, while attempting to traverse the violent terrain that is the criminal court system. Hiring an experienced and effective criminal defense lawyer can lead to a reduced or even dropped charge. Because of this importance, it is necessary to search for criminal defense attorneys in an effective and responsible manner. 
How do I Find a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you are convicted of a crime and are in the financial state to hire a criminal defense attorney, you must begin your search immediately. If you do not have the funds to hire a criminal defense attorney, one will be given to you by the state. 
There are a number of ways to find appropriate representation in a criminal case. Scouring the Internet for criminal defense attorneys in your region or heeding the advice of friends and family is a solid starting point. 
In addition to generic resources like the Internet and referrals, it is recommended that you utilize one of several attorney directories online. You must also visit your state’s BAR Association Website. The Internet, although seemingly informal, is the most efficient resource to connect you with a criminal defense attorney.
You must hire a criminal defense attorney before your trial commences. Failure to meet this timeline will result in a public defender presiding representing you. Because of this time constraint, it is vital to efficiently evaluate criminal defense attorneys in your region. Your state’s BAR Association website will list all criminal defense attorneys in your region, along with their area of practice, their experience, and credentials.
Will I need a Defense Specialist?
Not all criminal attorneys are the same; you will need to hire a specialist. The bulk of criminal defense attorneys will focus on a specific sect of criminal law. Because of this specialty, it is imperative to link your charges with an attorney who specializes in the laws surrounding said charges. For instance, if you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter you should hire a criminal defense attorney who specializes in this area of criminal law. If you are convicted of wire fraud, you should search for criminal defense attorneys who specialize in fraud. 
Evaluating Experience and Education:
A criminal defense attorney will handle a variety of criminal cases, including misdemeanors, drug charges, white collar crimes, federal crimes, and an assortment of criminal actions. When evaluating a criminal defense attorney, you will want to find the best one for your particular case. It is essential to concentrate on the attorney’s expertise and experience.
A criminal defense attorney’s level of experience will prove valuable when evaluating the individual’s skill-set. In most cases, the more experienced a criminal defense attorney is, the more knowledgeable and effective that individual will be. An experienced criminal defense attorney may help reduce your criminal charge to a lesser offense. Furthermore, an experienced criminal defense attorney may lessen the severity of your punishment and reduce or eliminate jail time. All of these outcomes are dependent on the criminal defense attorney’s strategy. For the most part, an experienced and savvy criminal defense attorney will be more adept at developing sound defense strategies. As such, experience trumps educational background in regards to the expected effectiveness of a criminal defense attorney. With this in mind, it is still recommended that you at least observe your particular criminal defense attorney’s education past and his or her licenses and certificates. 
What is the Ideal Personality of a Criminal Defense Attorney?
An important step to hiring a criminal defense attorney is evaluating their personality during your consultation or preliminary meeting. Typically criminal defense attorneys will not a charge a fee for this meeting. 
During the initial meeting the criminal defense attorney will assess your case; at this time you must develop a rapport with the individual and take note of their personality. 
The personality and your connection with criminal defense attorney is paramount; because of the significance associated with a criminal charge and the punishments attached, you must feel comfortable and confident with your hiring selection. Is the individual professional, knowledgeable and affable? Or is he curt and uninterested in your well-being? Will he fight for you and do everything in his power to minimize your charges or is he only it in for his fee? 
In addition to his outward personality, you must also evaluate your criminal attorney when you are talking—is he listening or is he focused on other work? Again, the significance of your rapport cannot be understated; you will be in contact with this individual throughout the process, so it is essential that you feel comfortable with your selection. 
In addition to the individual, take note of the criminal defense attorney’s staff and office. If you hire the individual, it is likely that work will be delegated to assistants, paralegals and other individuals in the firm. Everyone involved should be polite, professional and knowledgeable.
Criminal Defense Attorneys and Fees:
During your meetings, you should ask the criminal defense attorney for a retainer agreement (as well as a list of references). When you look-over the pay agreement be sure to ask the criminal defense attorney to explain, in detail, on the ambiguous text latent in the document. A criminal defense attorney’s fees are typically established by an hourly or flat rate. Regardless of the criminal defense attorney’s pay structure, you should ask for an expected cost for work; this estimate will include the fees associated for court reporters, expert witnesses and copying. 
The cost of hiring criminal defense attorneys will depend on a number of factors, including the individual’s reputation, track record, geographical location and experience. Depending on the individual’s fee arrangement, some criminal defense attorneys will allow you to engage in a payment plan to satisfy ongoing charges. Other criminal defense attorneys; however, may require an upfront retainer before working on the case. Due to the variety of pay structures, it is important to consult with several criminal defense attorneys in your area to gauge which one you can afford and feel comfortable with. If you cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, you most likely will receive a state-appointed attorney to represent you. 
Questions to ask my Criminal Defense Attorney:
Before hiring a criminal defense attorney, you must feel comfortable engaging with the individual with all aspects of your charge. Listed below are some questions you should ask your prospective criminal defense attorney:
How much of my case will you handle?
Do you have experience in handling charges similar to mine?
How often do you engage in plea deals? 
What are the chances of you being able to reduce my charge?
Can I have a list of references from clients you’ve represented?
How are your fees calculated and do you offer a payment plan?
How many trials by jury have you litigated?
What is the worst possible outcome for my charge? What is the best possible outcome?
If an individual is facing criminal charges for violating the law, they should enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys are responsible for developing convincing and effective criminal defenses for their clients. They will be required to convince a jury that their client is not responsible for the crime in question. If there is sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt, then a criminal defense attorney must employ special defenses to convince the jury that his or her client is not or cannot be held accountable for the crime of which he or she is accused.
If an individual is involved in a criminal case and they cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, then they may be qualified to receive a court-appointed attorney. However, court-appointed criminal defense attorneys are generally unprepared to successfully handle a criminal case. In most cases, these court-appointed attorneys are paid very little to work very long hours, and thus, they are naturally rarely successful in adequately defending their clients.
Thousands of criminal defense attorneys are located throughout the United States and so it should not be difficult to find one near one’s location. Experienced criminal defense attorneys will be effective and successful in negating or decreasing their client’s criminal liability. As a result, the defendant will not be convicted of a crime, or they will receive a less severe sentence than they would have without the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
A criminal defense attorney takes on many different roles throughout the legal process. Obviously, criminal defense attorneys are responsible for defending their client. However, they have many other important responsibilities and they take part in various essential processes. These lawyers engage in a great deal of negotiation with the prosecutor in order to decrease the severity of the criminal charges that the defendant will face, as well as to lighten the sentence that they stand to receive as a result of their actions.
A criminal defense attorney will also be able to provide his or her client with a realistic opinion about their future, as well as the severity and the reality of their case. They will be able to supply the defendant with valuable insight into the best course of action to take and will know the consequences of certain actions and behaviors. They will also fully understand all of the aspects of a criminal case with which a defendant would not be familiar if they chose to represent themselves. 
A defense attorney is responsible for helping to prove that their client is Innocent based on the evidence in the case, as well as witness accounts and testimony. In some cases, a defense attorney may utilize an affirmative defense, which asserts that their client did, in fact, commit the crime, but did so because of extenuating circumstances, such as insanity. 
Defense attorneys first begin by preparing their client’s case. This may include a collection and analysis of evidence. In addition, a defense attorney will attempt to find witnesses to the crime, which could help to exonerate their client. 
A defense attorney will then handle every aspect of the court case, including pretrial hearings and each court appearance until a verdict has been determined. If there is a cause for an appeal, the defense attorney would also handle that aspect of their client’s case.

Guide to Finding Criminal Justice Attorney

Guide to Finding Criminal Justice Attorney


A brief guide to criminal justice attorneys
In civil lawsuits, a plaintiff files a complaint against a defendant and seeks monetary damages or other forms of compensation. Criminal charges are another matter altogether: here, law enforcement or government agencies press charges against a private citizen or business and ask for a fine and/or jail time. Criminal justice attorneys work for both the prosecution and defense. If you are involved in a criminal lawsuit, here are a few things you should know about the process.
Types of crimes
Every state has its own law codes to follow alongside federal and local guidelines. Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of criminal charges you can face:
• Felonies include the most serious kinds of accusation, such as murder or rape. In some states, these can be grounds for the death penalty.
• Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, such as drunk driving or domestic abuse. Depending on the state, how many times you have broken the crime in question and local regulations, a misdemeanor can become a felony.
• Infractions are minor offenses such as receiving a speeding ticket or violating a noise ordinance. Unlike felonies or misdemeanors, you are generally not entitled to the free services of a criminal justice attorney to defend you in the case of an infraction.
You may be charged directly by the police or a government agency. In some cases, you may face charges at the instigation of a private citizen. For example, victims of domestic violence can ask the local public prosecutor to file charges on their behalf.
Steps of the criminal justice process
When a crime is committed, the police may arrest the culprit they suspect. If you are charged with a crime, in almost all cases you are entitled to be represented by a criminal justice attorney if you cannot pay for one yourself.
Assuming the prosecutor decides to pursue charges, once you are arrested you will have an arraignment hearing. How quickly this happens after your arrest depends on where you are and the nature of the crime. 
Criminal justice attorneys work for both the prosecution and defense at this point. The public prosecutor’s task is:
• present a detailed explanation of the charges against the defendant
• to prevent evidence of the defendant’s participation for a crime
• offer a plea bargain, if any
In response, a defendant’s criminal justice attorney may:
• point to procedural or legal errors on the prosecution’s side
• present any evidence on the defendant’s behalf
• request bail and/or release from custody
• advise the defendant on whether to plead guilty, no contest or not guilty
• advise the defendant on whether or not to accept any plea bargains
Throughout the process, you should be careful of taking any steps you do not fully understand the implications of. As the defendant, you are allowed to make your own decisions about whether to testify, accept the prosecution’s plea bargains and decide for yourself how to respond to charges. However, there is a reason the law provides criminal justice attorneys for those who can’t afford them. The law is technical and often difficult for laymen to understand. Listen to any advice your criminal justice attorney offers before making any decisions.
If your case is not dismissed, that does not necessarily mean you will end up in court. Throughout the pretrial process, your criminal justice attorney and the prosecution will be required to regularly provide the other side with evidence and witness statements they plan on using. Such exchanges (known as “discovery”) may help your lawyer prove there is no valid case against you and lead to a dismissal of charges before your trial date.
If you do end up in court, your criminal justice attorney will present mitigating evidence on your behalf, call witnesses and make the strongest possible case for your innocence. Should be found guilty, you will still need legal representation during the sentencing phase. At this time, criminal justice attorneys for the prosecution argue for the strongest applicable sentence, while lawyers for the defense make the case for leniency.
Hiring a criminal justice attorney
If you are charged with a crime and retain the services of a lawyer, contact them immediately. You do not have to make any statement until you have consulted with a criminal justice attorney and should be aware of rights at all times. Whether you are working with a lawyer you already have a relationship with or someone assigned by the court to argue your defense, pay close attention to their advice.
Those without criminal justice attorneys to call upon should seek legal counsel if at all possible. If you are unsatisfied with your pro bono lawyer, see if you a bar association can refer you to someone who will work more effectively on your behalf for free. Whether you have money or not, ask friends and family to provide referrals to any specialists they know who can help defend you. Before meeting with anyone, check their disciplinary record online and make sure they are in good legal standing and entitled to practice.
Take as much as you can afford when interviewing criminal justice attorneys. You’re looking for a lawyer with specific experience helping you with the kinds of charges you are facing. Be careful of lawyers who seem to be offering you guarantees they will be unable to follow through on.  Be prepared to answer any questions and have any documentation that will help you construct a strong defense.
Some questions to ask criminal justice attorneys:
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
• What kind of legal outcome can I realistically accept?
• How long could my case take to resolve?
• Should I prepare for court or be prepared to accept a plea bargain?
If your lawyer is not working pro bono, get a detailed estimate of how much their services will cost. Make sure to get this writing: good lawyer-client relationships begin with both sides committing in documented form to a specific plan of action.