Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Criminal Law Attorney

Have you or someone you know been accused of a crime that you or they didn't commit? Are you in need of legal representation, but you're not sure how to go about finding a good lawyer? Picking out a good attorney can seem complicated, especially if you've never had to find one before. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can ask when speaking to a lawyer for the first time that will help you narrow down your search. Here are some of the questions to ask that will give you a better idea about whether to hire a particular criminal law attorney or not:

What sort of fees do you charge? A criminal law attorney will often charge by the hour. However, some lawyers may also have a flat fee for certain types of criminal cases. Before you hire any attorney, make sure that you know which sort of fees that you're agreeing to and how much they'll be. You may also be charged later for expert testimony, such as if your attorney hires a detective to follow pieces of evidence to show and then testify that you were somewhere else entirely when the crime was being committed. 

How much experience do you have with similar cases? While things like robbery and carjacking are both crimes, they're handled under separate sections of law and the legal code. As such, you want a criminal law attorney who is familiar with your type of criminal case. Even if you are completely innocent, you may need to rely on your lawyer getting you off on a technicality if your alibi is less than ideal. For the best chance of being able to do that, your lawyer needs to be as familiar as possible with the relevant sections of the legal code. An attorney with different experience may still be able to do this, but it may not be as easy for them as it would be for an attorney who handles cases like yours every day.

Are you the one who will be handling the case? In some law firms, you may talk to one criminal law attorney in their office, but another lawyer will be the one who does most or even all of the work. While all lawyers at a particular firm should be competent, you probably want to make sure that the attorney who you hire is the one who you build the initial rapport with.

In addition to the potential for other attorneys working on the case, you may also want to know how much of your case will be handled by secretaries or paralegals and how much experience they have. Although it will be an actual attorney in court, it's common for junior staff members to prepare the court documents that the lawyer will then file. If you are paying your lawyer by the hour, having junior staff prepare the court documents can lower your total attorney fees.