After an arrest, a criminal defense attorney might be the most important person the accused speaks with. The attorney can help minimize the potential for serious penalties and ensure the defendant’s rights are upheld through the entire process. However, it is important for defendants to choose the right criminal defense attorney to work with. One way to make sure they’re making the right choice is by asking the right questions from the beginning.
What’s the Likely Outcome for the Case?
The most important question if you’re being prosecuted is likely to be what could happen as a result of the charges. Will they result in years of jail or is it more likely the case will end with probation and fines? Knowing what to expect can help the accused prepare for it and ensure they understand the severity of the accusations against them. The answer to this question can also help them make sure they choose a lawyer with realistic expectations for the case.
Do You Have Experience With Similar Cases?
Outcomes for cases can be vastly different depending on the experience of the lawyer. If the case is a new type of case for them, the attorney might not be familiar with the specific defense strategies to use. Even if the case is unique in some way, the lawyer should have experience working on cases that are similar so they can use that experience to get an idea of how to handle the case for the accused.
Is it Easy to Get Answers to Questions?
The accused will likely have plenty of questions. They’re paying every time they speak with the lawyer, so they’ll want to know how quickly an answer can be expected. Some lawyers may not answer phone calls until the next business day while others may respond any time, day or night, for their clients. The accused should make sure they’re working with a lawyer who is accessible when the defendant has any questions.
How Much Are the Legal Fees for the Criminal Defense Attorney?
The accused may be able to find a free consultation with a lawyer, but criminal defense attorneys do generally charge for the initial consultation. After that, the accused will need to pay a retainer for the services. The retainer will be used to make the hourly payments until it’s depleted. If the retainer is depleted, the accused will likely need to pay a second retainer. It’s important to ask what the hourly fee is as well as find out what the retainer will be.
How Often Do Your Cases Go to Trial?
For federal cases, about 90% end in a plea bargain, which means the case doesn’t go to court. In-state cases, this amount may be slightly higher. Very few cases actually go to court, which means lawyers may not have much experience in court. If the lawyer believes the case could make it to court, the accused will want to ensure they work with a lawyer that has experience with trials.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, finding the right lawyer is crucial. When you speak with a criminal defense attorney, make sure you ask all of these questions. Doing so can help you find the right lawyer and make sure you have the help needed to fully defend against the charges.