What should you expect when you meet with a criminal defense lawyer?
How do you know that this defense attorney is right for you?
All too often, innocent people go to prison and good people receive harsher punishments for the crimes they have committed. Your freedom is important and finding a competent and experienced lawyer to defend that freedom is crucial.
You may feel like you don’t have the time to go around asking for meetings with different criminal defense attorneys, but you cannot afford not to.
Today, I wanted to share with you 6 different questions to ask before you hire a criminal defense attorney. These questions will help to give you an idea of the lawyer before you hire him or her. I’ve also added some tips about what to expect when you meet with a lawyer.
6 different questions to ask a potential attorney
- How long have you practice law?
According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Outliers, and in an article by the New Yorker, he proposes through his research that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. In other words, find an attorney that has been practicing for over 10 years.
- Have you faced charges like mine in the past and what is your track record?
As I explained earlier, you will want an attorney that has experience in the area that you have been charged with and one that has been successful.
- How often have you faced a jury?
One of your goals in asking these questions is making sure your attorney will work for you and your best interest. Some attorneys who are not confident in facing juries could try and sidestep this option and settle, even when it’s not in your best interest.Again, we are coming back to the importance of the lawyer’s experience and excellence in the past.
- Will you come to court yourself or will you send someone else?
It may seem obvious that you would want the person who’ve hired to stand next to you at the trial. However, some lawyers may send someone else in their place.
- What is your strategy for my case?
Here you are looking to see the defense attorney’s plans for you and your case. They should be able to provide you with a brief overview on how they will handle it and what is to come.
- How much do you charge?
Some lawyers charge by the hour, others charge by the month and some require a retainer. It is completely appropriate to work out how much you will pay before hiring them.
What to Expect When Meeting a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Some people have said that meeting with a lawyer can be, well…intimating, but it doesn’t have to be. The truth is you are the one doing the hiring.
It is great to meet with as many defense lawyers as possible, but you may find that you can only manage to meet with a few. Being prepared will make this process easier.
Don’t be surprised or put off if you go to meet with a defense attorney and instead you are meeting with someone else in their office. Treat that meeting the same way you would if the lawyer was sitting right in front of you.
You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the meeting and they may also ask you to provide certain documentation, like a copy of the police report if possible or the papers you received from the court showing your charges. You may also be asked to provide the names of any other defendants, witnesses or victims. This ensures that there isn’t a conflict of interest if you decide to hire this attorney.
Take some time before going to the meeting to write down any questions you may have. You can use the questions we’ve provided in the list above as a guide.
Interviewing and hiring a competent criminal defense attorney can make all the difference. This is a critical decision. If you or someone you love has been charged and is in need of an experienced attorney in criminal law, please have them call my office. I am here to help.
248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000