Picking a good criminal defense lawyer isn’t as easy as opening up the phone book and choosing at random. You can find an expensive one quite easily, just as you can find a popular one quite easily. What’s not so easy is finding one who is truly good.
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Depending on the evidence against you and your prior record, there may not be an attorney alive who can get you off. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go into court with anything but the best representation you can find. That doesn’t mean picking the best one you can afford. It means doing your research and finding the one who meets the qualifications set out below.
No, you don’t need to find a criminal defense lawyer who is the legal answer to a kindergarten teacher. By all means, you want someone ruthless and aggressive. This isn’t about that type of caring. This is about the dedication the attorney is going to put into your case. You can tell upon first meeting certain attorneys how much time they are going to be willing to put in when helping with your defense. You can tell if you represent a real human to them or just another bunch of billable hours. You want someone who will really see you and treat you like the individual that you are.
If you are in jail, you should find a criminal defense lawyer whose primary goal will be to remedy that situation. In some cases, of course, it will be impossible to get you out of jail until after a jury has found you not guilty. In many others, however, a good attorney will be able to provide the judge with solid reasons why you pose no flight risk and no threat to society and should therefore be released. These are the kinds of arguments that defendants can seldom make effectively. Find an attorney who can, and who can do it quickly.
A good criminal defense lawyer will look beyond the immediate punishments associated with the charges you’re facing. For so many people, even a plea bargain that avoids jail time can have massive impacts on the rest of their lives. Contractor’s licenses, marriages, jobs, and even financial loans can be impacted by what a defendant says or agrees to in court. Make sure your attorney has your best interests at heart when he makes a recommendation, and isn’t just looking for a quick way to bring the case to a close.
Some of these traits are difficult to decipher from a one hour initial consultation. That’s why it is so important to do your research beforehand and make sure that the criminal defense lawyer you choose has a good reputation in the community for giving their clients the best representation possible.