Hindsight is 20/20. Few adages are more true, and prisons are filled with men who learned this lesson the hard way. If you are charged with a crime, any attorney won’t do. You need the best possible attorney, one with extensive experience and a high success rate with cases like yours. Most people will never be charged with a crime or have reason to hire a defense attorney. However, America does have the highest incarceration rate in the world. The NAACP reports that of American males aged 18 and up: 1 of every Caucasians, 1 of every 36 Hispanics, and 1 of every 15 African Americans is incarcerated. Many of those people never saw it coming.
The primary reason you should hire a criminal attorney is because your freedom and your future are at stake. Consider it this way: If you had a brain tumor, you’d go straight to a neurologist specializing in oncology, would you not? You certainly wouldn’t go to a dermatologist or an OB/GYN. They wouldn’t know what to do with you! Just as is the case with medicine, attorneys tend to specialize in different areas of the law. While it’s true they study a bit of everything in law school, by the time they’ve spent a decade or two working in a particular niche, it’s that niche they know best. Therefore, if you wish to write a will, go to an attorney who specializes in estate planning. If you need a divorce, go to a divorce attorney. If you’re charged with a crime, you should only consider hiring the best criminal defense attorney available.
There are a number of excellent reasons to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney when accused of a crime. Many cases are won or lost on technicalities. You’ll want to make certain your attorney knows the law inside out.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is connected to others within the legal system. Your case won’t be his first trip to court. He knows the procedure, the courtroom personnel, the judges, the jury selection process and the loopholes.
Having little experience in finding an experienced criminal defense attorney, many people initially are daunted by the prospect. However, it need not be intimidating. Criminal defense attorneys are well-aware that many of their clients are bewildered by the whole legal process, and you should find they’ve taken steps to be visible in your time of need. The following steps will serve as a guide in showing you how to hire a good criminal attorney.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, schedule initial appointments to meet the attorneys who made the cut. Be prepared. Take all relevant information concerning your case with you, such as papers you were provided by the court, bail documents, police reports, etc. Bring a list of other people who are pertinent to your case, such as the names and addresses of victims, witnesses, and any other defendants. Go prepared to take notes. Remember, it is important to feel the attorney is sincere, capable, and someone with whom you can establish rapport. You should not hesitate to ask for any of the following information.
Make sure the attorney you retain is one who explains things in such a way that you’re able to understand them. This is particularly true if you lack a basic understanding of how the legal system works. Hire a local attorney if at all possible. Although some may find the attorney choosing process stressful, it is important to take your time and do the job well. When your freedom is on the line, settle for nothing less than the most competent attorney available.