There are many factors to consider in choosing the right attorney, and every legal situation is unique. However, when you are evaluating your candidates, a careful consideration of the following 5 key factors will provide a great starting point in the decision making process.
Before you begin to interview defense attorneys, you should conduct a careful assessment of your financials. Determine how much money you will be able to allocate to the entire process. Be prepared to incur costs for court fees, restitution, and more. If your case goes to trial, your legal defense fee can easily double.
Depending on your particular requirements, you may need an attorney who offers flexible payment plans. You may be able to work out a monthly payment arrangement with a percentage of your fees paid in advance. Be sure to make note of forms of payment accepted as well. Most attorneys accept major credit cards, cash and checks.
A critical component of the evaluation process. Many attorneys begin their careers working for the State and thereby have a unique insight as to how the prosecution works. Carefully review the resumes of all your candidates and pay close attention to previous positions.
Look for experience in the area of practice that most closely pertains to your legal situation. If one of your prospects has a decade of experience practicing bankruptcy law, it won't do you much good if you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated.
While this is a factor that is often overlooked, your attorney's demeanor is critical to the maintenance of your relationship. Personality can also play an enormous roll in how a jury responds to your attorney if the case goes to trial.
Look for a confident yet personable attitude, and an ability to enunciate and communicate properly. It is imperative that your attorney exhibits patience in explaining the technicalities of the law to you at every step of the process.
This may seem obvious, but many people seek counsel from counties other than the one in which they are facing criminal charges. Although there are circumstances where this may be advisable, generally speaking it is a better idea to choose an attorney with a primary practice in the county where you have been charged.
An attorney that is familiar with the processes and protocols in a local court system may have insights that an out-of-town lawyer may not be be aware of.
5) Track Record
While it may be tempting to look at sheer wins vs. losses in determining an attorney's ability to litigate, it is important to dig a little deeper. Every case has a unique set of circumstances that should be taken into consideration.
Look at your prospect's case results within the context of all of the available details. Does the attorney have a proven record of negotiating favorable terms for his clients or does he accept the first offer that is handed over? Look for a lawyer with the confidence to take a case to trial when appropriate.
When you enter into a relationship with a criminal defense attorney, you are putting your trust in the ability of that attorney to protect your constitutional rights in a court of law. With your freedom at stake, you should take every measure to ensure that you have retained the best possible legal representation.
Never be afraid to ask questions and don't be intimidated by your lack of proficiency in the law. Remember, above all, your defense attorney works for you!
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Article Added on Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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