How To Choose A Criminal Lawyer: A Guide

Chris Wilson 2016-11-29 19:00:00

When you or a loved one has been arrested, things are already stressful enough. Choosing the right criminal lawyer is one of the hardest parts of dealing with a run-in with police. It’s also one of the most important since it is so critical to find one you can trust. There are several issues to consider before you choose a criminal lawyer.

Determine Your Legal Needs

[1] Do you need a defence attorney?

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, you need to obtain legal advice, even if you choose not to hire a lawyer to represent you in court. A lawyer can explain your options, tell you if you have any chance of a plea bargain, and what will happen if you are convicted.

[2] Decide what kind of defence attorney you need.

Some lawyers have specialties like defending minor crimes. Some specialize in drunk driving offences. The more serious the crime with which you have been charged, the more important it is for you to find a good lawyer.

[3] Talk to a public defender or legal aid lawyer.

Most courts assign regular lawyers to act as Legal Aid lawyers on a rotating basis to help people on the day of court appearances, and some manage a mix of Legal Aid and paying clients. You can learn more about Legal Aid Ontario on their official website.

[4] Think about the qualities that are important to you.

Look for a lawyer with good communications kills, a decent track record, and who is honest. Make sure you consider his or her experience with the crime with which you have been charged. For an experienced lawyer, you may want to consult with criminal defence lawyer Aswani K. Datt for his expertise.

Choose a Defence Attorney

Use reputable sources to gather a list of potential criminal lawyers. There are several ways to do this. Go online and start with professional organizations, do a Google search for “Criminal Lawyers” plus your city, or even check chat forums.

Ask friends and family members for referrals. Someone you know may have had experience with a good lawyer who can help. Or someone may warn you against hiring a certain attorney based on a bad experience.

Be cautious of who you hire. Don’t get drawn in by promises of success and be wary of someone who promises you a certain outcome before even looking at all of the evidence and documents related to your case.

Ask to look at a sample contract before you sign on with a criminal lawyer, and don’t sign with someone who wants a large amount of money to handle your matter just through preliminary proceedings if you’re not going to a jury trial.

Determine the cost of hiring a criminal lawyer. Usually the cost will vary depending on how complex your case is. Most attorneys will ask for a retainer if there’s a lot of work to do, or if he or she will have to bring in expert witnesses. Different lawyers will charge using different ways: flat fee, hourly rate, or fees for different parts of the case.

Set up a constellation appointment. It’s always best to sit down with a potential lawyer to see how you feel with him or her, and to see if you have confidence in his or her skills, experience, and ability. Meet with up to three or even four lawyers before you decide. This will give you a choice but will not be overwhelming.

Prepare a list of questions to ask. This will help you get all the info you need to make your decision. Ask about potential trial strategies, what your options are, and how soon he or she will begin work.

Ask the lawyer about his or her staff and see who will be working on your case. Ask about paralegals and assistants, and ask about their rate, as well.

Discuss the facts of your case. The more info you can offer, the better he or she can tell you regarding ability to defend you properly. Take all paperwork you have to your consultation.

Make your decision. Good luck!

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