Good criminal defense lawyers are hard to come by. In a situation where you could be facing serious jail time, finding the best defense lawyer can make a huge difference. Therefore, you should know these tips on how to choose a criminal defense lawyer. So if you’ve recently come into legal trouble, keep reading this article to learn more about the traits of a good lawyer.
What Is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer is usually hired by the defendant, or they are court-appointed. These kinds of lawyers can be appointed by the local, state, or federal courts. According to Kim T. Stephens, The job of a criminal defense lawyer is to build a case to prove your innocence. This can be done by doing interviews with the defendant, witnesses, and acquiring and reading through relevant paperwork.
How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The justice system is a complicated process for an individual to go through alone. However, choosing a good lawyer can make it easier to navigate the process. It’s important to look for qualities of a good criminal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested. This is because, during your arrest, you’ll be asked questions by police officers or investigators. You can plead the 5th or answer questions at your own risk. However, it’s highly recommended that you wait until you’ve hired the best lawyer in your area.
1. Able to Communicate and Listen Effectively
A criminal defense lawyer is able to properly communicate in a timely manner is a must. They should also possess great public speaking skills. This may seem like an obvious statement. However, many lawyers are not able to properly communicate with judges in a way that sounds intellectual, confident, and trustworthy.
Your attorney should also be able to effectively communicate with colleges, prosecutors, and judges to negotiate terms. Similarly, your attorney should also be an active listener. This will become very important during the initial stages of your case when you’re telling them your side of the story. If anything is missed during these interviews because of poor listening skills, it could greatly affect your case.
2. Good Empathy Skills
What makes a good lawyer is their ability to show understanding during the most difficult time in your life. This is why it’s important to have an attorney who possesses high levels of empathy for you. If your lawyer is genuinely concerned for your well-being, then they will fight even harder for your justice.
3. Good Investigation Skills
Lawyers spend most of their time doing research and sifting through stacks of paperwork. This process can become exhausting for some lawyers which can cause them to look over important details.
However, the traits of a good lawyer are their ability to look for the important details amongst tons of information. Also, they should do research on your case and see if there are any similar cases. Doing this can help establish a baseline for your case.
4. Approachable and Have a Drive Towards Success
Your criminal defense attorney should have a strong drive and at times be aggressive. When these skills are showcased, at the appropriate time, they can lead to a better outcome. Your attorney should also be approachable when speaking to you. Aggressiveness is great in the courtroom but it should not be shown towards you. The traits of a good lawyer are their ability to be easy to talk to and relatable to an extent. Overall, the qualities of a good criminal defense lawyer are their ability to communicate, draw out important information, and show empathy.
Other Factors to Consider
Now that you know the qualities of a good criminal defense lawyer, you can start looking for lawyers. However, you should also begin to look at their credentials and experience.
1. Are They Reputable?
Fortunately, it has become easier and easier to look up someone’s reputation and reviews. By simply typing in the prospective lawyer’s name on Google, you can quickly see their previous work experience and success. You can also look at the State Bar of Georgia to see any disciplinary actions against your lawyer.
2. Do They Specialize or Have Relevant Experience in Criminal Law?
Some criminal defense lawyers also dabble in other law practices. However, if the prospective lawyer has no experience in criminal law, this is a red flag. Just because your attorney is trained in the law, it doesn’t mean they’re aware of the ins and outs of all law practices. Therefore, ensure that your lawyer has experience or specializes in criminal defense. If you can, get a lawyer who specializes in criminal law as this will produce the best outcome.
3. Are They Experienced in Local Courts?
Criminal defense lawyers who have experience in local courts have a huge advantage over big-time lawyers. For starters, lawyers who have worked in local courts, develop connections that can help propel your case forward. Not to mention, knowing how local judges practice can be a great benefit. Overall, find a lawyer who knows their way in and out of a court.
4. Do They Offer an Easy Payment Method?
During the initial stages of your interview process, a good lawyer will disclose all information on pricing. They should have an easy payment method that doesn’t confuse you. Similarly, you should also know about every price detail and applicable fees. Some lawyers offer payment plans, so ask your attorney if you can work something out.
5. Are They Able to Answer Basic Questions?
Last but not least, your lawyer should be able to answer basic questions relating to general law. For example, they should know the basics of the penalties that are being brought up. They should also know what questions to ask to establish inconsistencies or nuances relating to your case. If your lawyer seems unsure during the initial stages of the interview, then this could mean they are not fully knowledgeable on criminal law.
Hire the Best Lawyer Today
Now that you know how to choose a criminal defense lawyer, then it’s time to make some calls. Always remember to ask questions and refer to this article if you become confused about something.