Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney: A Brief Guide
Weighing all your options before selecting a criminal defense attorney is important. Lawyers from the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can help.
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
October 14. 2022.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges and trials are a nightmare for those involved. The seemingly endless court dates and the uncertainty of your future may contribute to your turmoil. In such a situation, it is essential to have an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you and protect your interests.
The stakes are very high in a criminal case. Your life and freedom are on the line. As such, your case would likely benefit from the skill of a proactive and aggressive defense attorney to fight for you and keep you from experiencing the wrong side of the criminal justice system where possible.
The decision on who to hire as your right criminal defense lawyer should be given adequate and careful consideration, as making a wrong choice might land you in prison. So, if you’re searching for a highly-trained criminal defense attorney to handle your case, this guide gives you a list of things to consider before making a choice.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer
As you search for a suitable criminal law attorney for your case, consider looking out for the following qualities before you decide:
The Skill of the Criminal Defense Attorney
The most important thing a good criminal defense lawyer should have is criminal defense prowess. You need to see evidence from their qualifications and licenses that they have the necessary legal training, knowledge, and experience in criminal law to handle your case.
Your legal team also needs to have hands-on courtroom experience. Some lawyers may be well versed in the law theoretically but lack actual trial experience. Therefore, the processes involved in a criminal trial may remain foreign to them, which could be detrimental to your case.
Location of the Law Firm/Lawyer
The right criminal defense attorney for you is licensed to practice in the particular location or state where your case is being heard. Courtroom procedures vary depending on the location of the court.
It would be ideal to look for a local criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled criminal defense cases in the district or courtroom where your case is. If you have a case in Missouri, a lawyer with experience in criminal defense in Missouri can serve you better than someone with lots of experience from a different state or jurisdiction.
Another advantage is that your lawyer may be familiar with the prosecutors in that location. As a result, they could be aware of the prosecutors’ methods and be more equipped to defend you. If they have done an excellent job in the past, they may also be respected by the prosecutors, and that could be positive for your case if you need to negotiate plea bargains.
Attorney Responsiveness and Clear Communication.
Hiring the best criminal defense attorney is good, but even local attorneys may be unresponsive or bad at communicating with clients. You’ll be more at ease with an attorney that will keep you up to date on your case and respond promptly to your inquiries and issues.
You can determine how responsive an attorney is from how they communicate with you before you hire them. Great defense attorneys respond to consultation requests quickly and can explain the basics of the law to you so that you understand your situation.
They would also be willing to answer further questions and ensure that you are carried along throughout each phase of your case.
Attorney Success Rate
Another critical thing to consider is the success rate of your attorney. Experienced criminal defense attorneys usually keep records of their win/loss history to prove their abilities to prospective or new clients.
You can determine the attorney’s success rate by speaking to them or searching for client testimonials on their website. Furthermore, a simple internet search should reveal their ratings and reviews on Google, and you can get an idea of how good the attorney/law firm is.
The Attorney’s Availability
Another crucial factor is hiring a lawyer who is not swamped with too many cases. Criminal defense lawyers need to do a lot of work, from collecting evidence to drafting legal documents, analyzing and breaking down the laws that apply to a particular case, and representing the client in trials, arraignments, and hearings.
Therefore, if you hire an attorney occupied with many cases already, you may not get the best out of them. Even the most experienced attorney may not be on top of their game if they have to handle so many cases simultaneously. You’ll need to be sure your attorney can pay attention to all the details of your case.
You can confirm the availability of a lawyer by simply asking them. In this regard, going for a public defender may not be ideal since they are typically occupied with so many cases simultaneously.
The Attitude of Your Defense Lawyer
Every excellent criminal defense lawyer combines their legal representation skills with the right attitude. This brings out their best and allows them to fight for you wholeheartedly. You’ll need to examine potential attorneys to determine their attitudes toward your case.
Ideally, you want someone with excellent courtroom confidence, as that can be persuasive in a jury trial. They should also be able to present facts following the proper legal procedures confidently and logically.
Also, they should be aggressive enough to match the energy of the prosecutors. Most prosecutors are determined to get a conviction. So, it would be in your interests if you had someone as determined or more determined to defend you. The best criminal defense lawyer ought to have your best interest at heart and know when to accept a plea deal or when to reject it.
However, be mindful of overconfidence and superfluous promises by anyone to clear up all your criminal charges that are not backed by former results or any logical explanation.
The Attorney’s Ethics
Your deepest secrets could be exposed as you prepare your criminal defense. So, you’d want to find trusted lawyers in Kansas City who respects the attorney-client relationship and keep all privileged information between you and them in line with legal ethics.
You can learn about an attorney’s ethics by checking their reviews and recommendations online. You can also browse the local state bar association website to check their records and learn more about them.
Costs and Attorney Fees
Hiring the right lawyer is not usually cheap. That is why you must hire someone who will give you great value for your money. Going for a very cheap service to save a few bucks may hurt your case in the long run. You might spend more money as the case drags on than you would have spent with a more expensive but effective lawyer.
If you are unsure how much you’re likely to spend on attorney fees, consider visiting a law firm offering a free consultation. You can discuss the issue of fees and any other concerns you might have at the initial meeting and assess the lawyer to be sure you’re a good fit.
Let the Right Criminal Defense Attorneys Represent You
You don’t have to be a criminal or have a criminal record to face criminal charges. No one is immune to the law, and sometimes mistakes happen that can put you in a tight spot. You need the right representation before the court to have a chance of getting the best outcome possible.
Lawyers at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center are dedicated to defending your rights and ensuring you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today for legal representation or advice on criminal defense matters. We will be more than happy to help.
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Kansas City, MO 64106.