When you’re facing criminal charges, the consequences can’t get any dire.
Depending on the nature of the criminal charges, you could be facing a lifetime in prison without the possibility of parole. Heck, even the death penalty could be thrown your way. Other criminal convictions come with hefty monetary fines.
Plus, don’t even start imagining how hard your life will get when you have a criminal record to your name.
So, if you’re facing criminal charges, one of the first things you should do is to hire a criminal defense lawyer. But with over 20,000 such lawyers around, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs.
This is why you need to continue reading. We’re sharing a guide on how to find the best criminal lawyer.
What’s the Criminal Offense?
There are different types of criminal defense lawyers. Or in other words, these lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of criminal law.
There are a number of criminal offenses, majorly:
- Personal crimes (rape, child abuse, murder, kidnapping)
- Property crimes (robbery, burglary, auto theft)
- Inchoate crimes (Aiding and abetting, conspiracy)
- Statutory crimes (DUIs, drug possession, and trafficking)
- Financial crimes (Embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering).
It’s not common to find a criminal defense lawyer who handles just about any type of criminal case. Instead, you’ll find personal crimes lawyers, financial crimes lawyers, property crimes lawyer, and so forth.
In some cases, criminal lawyers specialize even further. For example, you will commonly find statutory crimes lawyers who only specialize in DUIs. Or financial crimes lawyers who only specialize in tax-related crimes.
As such, the first step to hiring the right criminal defense lawyer is to understand the nature of the criminal charges you’re facing. If you’re being suspected of drug possession, you don’t need just any kind of criminal defense lawyer. You need a drug crimes lawyer.
Get Referrals from the People Around You
Getting referrals from the people in your circles is the best way to find the best criminal defense lawyer. Millions of people face criminal charges every year, so there’s a good chance someone you know has dealt with a criminal lawyer in the past. Even if no one has directly hired a criminal lawyer, there’s a likelihood they know someone who has.
Don’t shy away from reaching out and asking for referrals. Sure, you might want to keep the situation under wraps, especially if you feel embarrassed, but when the consequences involve jail time and a criminal record, you have to put that aside.
When reaching out, specify the kind of criminal defense lawyer you need. If you need a drug crimes lawyer, say that.
What if you don’t get any leads from your friends and relatives?
Take your search online.
A simple “criminal defense lawyer near me” search on Google or other search engine is enough to lead you to some of the top-rated attorneys in your region. However, keeping in mind that you need a criminal lawyer who specializes in the criminal charges you’re facing, it’s important to be specific when doing the search.
For example, if you’re facing domestic violence charges, search “domestic violence lawyer near me.” If you’re in Orlando, FL, criminal defense attorney Thomas Feiter is one of those that will show up in your search results.
From your search, both online and offline, you should build a list of about 5 attorneys.
Licensed to Practice in Your State
If you’ve never hired an attorney before, you might not know that attorneys are licensed to practice in their states.
Therefore, the first thing to ask the lawyers on your list is whether they hold an active state-issued law license. If yes, ask for the licensing information and verify that it’s correct from your State’s bar.
It’s essential to do this because there are fraudsters out there masquerading as lawyers. They’ll agree to take up your case and ask you to pay an initial consultation fee, then you’ll never see them again.
Generally, you should be able to visit the attorney’s office and ask them questions. If an attorney is insisting on online consultations, you probably need to strike them off your list.
When you’re facing criminal charges, you need an experienced lawyer on your team.
But how do you know a lawyer is experienced? You shouldn’t focus on the number of years a lawyer has been practicing criminal law. What you need to consider is the number of the cases they have taken on, and what the outcome of those cases was.
An experienced lawyer will assess your case and give you a lowdown of the possible outcomes. Bear in mind that by the time prosecutors are preferring criminal charges against you, they’ve got evidence to prove you’re guilty as charged.
As such, an acquittal won’t always be the only favorable outcome. Sometimes it will be reduced charges after a plea bargain. Other times it’s will be life in prison instead of the death sentence…there are several possible outcomes.
Generally, though, the lawyer you choose should have a strong record of securing favorable outcomes for their past clients.
A lawyer can be well-experienced but have a not-so-good reputation. Be careful about hiring such a lawyer.
A lawyer with a strong professional reputation is one who treats clients with respect and maintains an open line of communication. Such a lawyer doesn’t drop out of cases when the going gets tough, leaving clients frustrated.
To assess the reputation of an attorney, go online, and look up their reviews. You can also call some of their past clients and ask about their experience.
Get the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing criminal charges, you’re probably feeling scared and confused. Even if you’re innocent, don’t take chances with your life. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will fight for you tooth and nail. With this guide, you now know how to find the best attorney.
Keep reading our blog for more informative posts.