Facing criminal charges is something that you should never do alone. Indeed, you are allowed to represent yourself, but it likely won’t go well. After an arrest for any crime, you should immediately find a criminal defense attorney to represent you for the best possible outcome.
While there are many esteemed lawyers out there, it’s important to find the right one to meet your needs. The questions you ask in your initial consultation will help you determine if you’ve found the right fit or if you need to keep looking.
Before choosing a criminal defence attorney to defend you, ask them the following questions.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Criminal Defense?
The best criminal defense lawyers will have years of experience successfully representing their clients. The more cases they’ve handled, the more likely they are to find the best strategies to defend you against the prosecution.
Do You Have Experience Handling Cases Like Mine?
Simply finding an experienced criminal defense attorney is just part of the equation. That experience will mean nothing if they have never handled cases like yours. For example, if you were arrested for DUI, you would want a lawyer that has successfully represented other clients facing similar charges. It won’t always guarantee you’ll get the outcome you want, but you will stand a better chance by going with a lawyer that has handled cases involving the same charges.
What Is Your Success Rate?
It’s a good idea to start by locating a seasoned criminal defence attorney who has expertise with situations similar to yours. But how effective were they in achieving success? Even the finest lawyers occasionally lose cases, but if they have a track record of successfully getting charges dismissed or reduced, your chances of receiving the best result possible in your case increase.
Will You Be the Attorney Handling My Case?
In many large firms, junior associates and paralegals are often delegated tasks by the attorneys. This may not always be a bad thing since the hourly rate of these associates are generally lower. However, what you want to know is how involved your attorney will be in making the most important decisions in your case. They should be actively presiding over any delegated tasks while giving you proper time and attention. An attorney that will hand everything over to the junior associates is likely not the right fit.
Do I Have a Strong Case?
There isn’t a lawyer anywhere that can completely guarantee specific results for your case. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate the preliminary information and make a basic assessment about how they see it working out. Your attorney should be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in your case as well as outline potential strategies. While they can’t promise you they will win, an attorney that can show you the pros and cons in your circumstances will be a good choice as your representation.
How Much Will It Cost to Have You Defend Me?
Unlike personal injury attorneys who tend to work on a contingency fee basis that collects fees only if a case settles or wins in court, you will have to pay criminal lawyers in Prince William County regardless of the outcome. This may seem like a strain, though keep in mind that you could go with a public defender for free.
The problem with public defenders is that they are overloaded with cases and often do not have either the experience required or the time needed to give your case proper attention. Turning to a defense attorney may cost more, but your future and your freedom is at stake.
As such, asking the attorney how much they charge and what other fees you’ll incur can help you find proper defense at a price that you can handle. Keep in mind that you will be paying attorney fees along with costs for investigations, witnesses, and other things to help prepare your defense. Knowing what to expect with their legal fee structure and whether they charge an hourly or flat fee can help you plan ahead and compare estimates to make the best decision.
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