Choosing a criminal defense attorney is a really big decision. Usually, such selections are made in a hurry, as the legal system often sets a newly arrested individual up with an arraignment and bail hearing within the first day unless the arrest was made on a weekend.
It doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or innocent. What matters is the lawyer’s ability to provide you with the right kind of vigorous representation. The ability to accurately interpret the law and find errors in the prosecution’s case is the mark of a good lawyer. This ability provides you with a defense that will be more aggressive.
When you are initially arrested you might have some expectations that are not well in tune with how the legal system really works. Real life doesn’t happen the way they show you on TV, especially when criminal charges are filed.
You and your new lawyer might not even meet until just before your first hearing is scheduled. Some defendants meet their attorney only a few moments before the judge walks in. It’s very rare to actually meet with him or her before the day of the first hearing if you’ve been in lock up.
It’s not uncommon for many people to start with a public defender and then hire a criminal defense attorney once they’ve made bail. If for some reason you are unable to make bail, it’s best to try to have a trusted friend or member of your family find you an attorney. You are not likely to have ample access to a phone to call the law offices, ask questions, and choose accordingly. Many lock ups only offer an hour or two of phone access per day, split between all of the inmates on your tier. This is not a great way to hunt down a lawyer.
You want to be sure that the lawyer of your choosing not only has ample experience, but takes that experience into the courtroom. The last thing you want is a lawyer who lacks the confidence in themselves to push your case through until trial without negotiating with the prosecution. Whether you and your attorney like each other or are simply in a business arrangement is rather irrelevant to the case. He or she doesn’t have to like you in order to provide you with good representation. You should, however, feel that they are able to competently handle the case and develop a strong defense.
The criminal justice system is filled with people who know about lawyers. You can often get great recommendations from the bail administration who oversees your check ins, and even others who have previously experienced criminal issues. Keep in mind that many criminal lawyers have experience in one aspect of criminal defense while not in others. You might find that representation for DUI or simple assault is much easier to find then representation for a capital crime.
If you suspect that you might be charged legitimately or illegitimately with a crime, it’s best to place an attorney on retainer that you feel will represent your best interests. When it comes to being arrested, being placed in the system, and defending yourself, a criminal defense attorney that you are already comfortable with can be a huge advantage. The system doesn’t always get it right, and even in our technologically advanced world the police still arrest the wrong suspects and go after innocent men and women. Being prepared is an affirmative method of preventing the potential disaster this could have on your life.