No matter what kind of criminal charges you’re facing, you are going to be up against some pretty hefty consequences. These types of crimes can leave you with exorbitant fines and even time spent in jail. Not to mention, a criminal charge will show up on your public record, potentially making it difficult for you to secure employment, housing, and even loans later on.
For these reasons, it’s essential that you seek help from a criminal defense attorney. You need someone who is experienced and capable of handling your case if you want to have any chance of receiving a positive outcome in court. This is why it’s crucial that you hire the right attorney for your case.
However, with so many attorneys out there, it can be a little intimidating trying to find the one that’s best suited to defend you against your criminal charges. Fortunately, many attorneys allow you to schedule free consultations that give you the opportunity to meet with them to discuss your options prior to committing to hiring them. When meeting with a criminal defense attorney, there are a few questions you should come prepared to ask to receive a better understanding of how much experience the attorney has and how your case will be handled. Here are the questions you need to get answers to:
1. Are you the attorney who will handle my case?
If you find yourself having a consultation with a larger law firm, you’ll need to be clear on which attorney will be handling your case. In many situations, you might meet with a senior member of the law firm for your initial consultation, but your case could then be passed on to a junior attorney who will wind up handling it.
You need to know exactly who is going to be representing you and whether or not this person has the right kind of experience you’re looking for. You want an attorney who has dealt with similar cases, who has knowledge on the laws within your state regarding such crimes, and you want someone who has experience as a criminal prosecutor. If the attorney who will handle your case isn’t skilled in all of these areas, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
2. Have you worked with clients who faced similar charges?
One of the top questions you need to ask your criminal defense attorney is if he or she has worked with clients who faced similar charges. This gives you a good idea whether or not this particular attorney has plenty of experience in this area. When taking on criminal charges, you want someone who has dealt with these situations before. You want someone who is knowledgeable on the laws and knows the best defensive strategies that will get you a positive outcome in court.
Another great follow-up question to ask is what their success rate is when going to trial. Obviously all cases will be unique, but it’s still helpful to know what kind of results an attorney has received for clients in the past. When you hire an experienced attorney who has successfully helped many clients, you’re going to feel more confident in your decision and in the potential outcome you’ll receive.
3. What is your preliminary evaluation of my case?
Next, use the initial consultation to your advantage by asking the attorney for a preliminary evaluation of your case. This is your opportunity to find out what an attorney thinks of your case right off the bat. You can determine which defenses are available to you and which one might be best suited for you. Plus, you can also ask if it’s best to head to trial or make a plea bargain. The more you know about your case in the beginning, the better. You need to be educated on exactly how everything will be handled and what the best options for you will be.
4. What should I do to improve the outcome of my case?
In many situations, there are things you can do that will give you a better chance at receiving a positive outcome in your case. Ask your attorney if there are any records you can provide to him/her or to the court that would be beneficial to you. Find out if there are any classes you can enroll in. It often looks favorable to take counseling or drug rehabilitation classes if relevant to your criminal charges. These actions could wind up decreasing your sentence, so it’s always worth a shot to consider them.
5. What is your fee structure?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney will not come cheap, but it’s crucial if you want to limit the impact criminal charges could wind up having on your personal life. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential attorney just how much everything is going to cost. Figure out what your attorney fees will be, if there are any extra costs (such as court fees), and determine if payment plans are available. Many attorneys will offer a payment plan to make retaining their services easier for you. Knowing this ahead of time is better than receiving a surprise bill later on.
When you’re facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you take them seriously and get a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Remember that you need to be involved in your case, so ask the questions about to choose the right attorney and prepare for the journey ahead. By having these answers, you’ll feel much more confident about the outcome of your case and you’ll know you made the best choice when choosing your attorney.