Being arrested for a criminal offense can be overwhelming. It can be incredibly embarrassing and can cause stress in many areas of your life. When looking for an attorney to represent you, consider the following:
1. Do I feel comfortable talking to this attorney? As mentioned before, arrests can be embarrassing. There is a lot of information you will need to provide to your attorney if they are going to be able to help you. Some of the things you have to tell the attorney will be very personal. Do you feel like the attorney listens to you? Is it easy to talk to the attorney about the facts of your case? It is important that you feel a good “connection” between you and the attorney. If you can’t tell your attorney about you and your case, the attorney can’t help you.
2. Does the attorney have experience with my type of case? The more experience an attorney has in a particular area the more they know. This is especially true with criminal cases. The more serious the crime, the more important it is that the attorney know what they are doing. Ask the attorney how much of their practice is dedicated to criminal law. Don’t be afraid to ask them specific questions about your case and the offense you have been charged with.
3. Can the attorney explain my case to me in terms I can understand? Whatever happens in your case affects you. If you are convicted you get the penalty. It is important that you understand all of the issues in your case. If the attorney can’t explain your options in terms you understand then you can’t make decisions about your case. Make sure that your attorney takes the time to answer your questions in a way that makes sense to you.
4. Will the attorney take my case to trial? It is always the client’s decision whether or not to go to trial. The attorney can advise you whether or not they think you can win, but the ultimate decision is up to you. Some attorneys will only be willing to take your case through plea negotiation. They will not go before a jury. Make sure the attorney you hire is willing to take your case all the way if that is what you choose to do.
5. Will my attorney be available to speak with me? A common complaint among clients is “I can’t get a hold of my attorney!” or “I don’t know what is going on with my case.” Make sure the attorney you hire is available during reasonable hours to speak to you. Or, that they at least have an assistant who is knowledgeable so that you can stay up to date on your case.
You will know when you have made the right decision about the attorney you wish to hire. Overall, if you are comfortable speaking with the attorney and the attorney is knowledgeable and ready to represent you, you have made a good choice.