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How to choose a criminal lawyer

Owings Mills, MD |

I need someone to represent me in traffic misdemeanors which might ultimately impact my immigration. Though I am consulting with a good immigration attorney, I am very confused about which criminal lawyer to pick to represent me in court out of the ones I have spoken with. Am not sure if asking this question in a lawyer forum is the best idea but I am feeling lost, I really need advise on how to select a lawyer and what qualities are important. Cost is not a major criteria for me right now!

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Attorney answers 5


I could supply you with links from around the internet with all kinds of criteria for choosing a defense attorney. There are so many factors that go into the mix, that it is really hard to give you a detailed analysis in this forum. If it was my kid looking for a lawyer somewhere, I would tell him to speak with several different attorneys. Pick someone with significant experience in the jurisdiction where your case is pending; the relationships with the DAs and the judges and the court staff are one of the most valuable assets that any defense attorney has. Secondly, pick someone you are comfortable with. A good relationship is critical, because your attorney's job is to advise you what to do given the situation. It is possible that your attorney will be telling you something you don't want to hear, so you need to be confident that the advice is being offered in your best interest. You don't want to be constantly second-guessing your lawyer. I hope this helps!



Thanks a lot, this was very helpful.


I would advise you to pick a criminal defense attorney that best understands what you're trying to do -- clear these traffic cases so they don't affect your immigration status. I would make sure your attorney understands that this is your primary concern -- you're not looking for the cheapest or fastest option, but the option that clears your name.

I would make sure you and your would-be attorney are on the same page on this issue. I would then hire the attorney that you feel best understands what you want to do and what you're willing to do to get there.

Best of luck with your cases. I hope all goes well.

Disclaimer: No attorney client privilege is established by receiving an answer to your question on Avvo. This answer is provided for informational purposes only. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to visit my Avvo profile or website -- -- to set up an appointment to talk more about your issue. As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.



Really appreciate your advice


Years in practice; primary or significant concentration in criminal/traffic matters; familiarity with the court, prosecutors and judges you will be appearing before for the present charges (so a lawyer with an office in the county or nearby county of the court); recommendations of former clients (such as friends and acquaintances of your own who have retained a lawyer for their own issues); your comfort level with the lawyer--i.e., does the lawyer instill confidence in you that he/she fully understands your circumstances, is responsive to your inquiries and questions, explains things in terms you understand? Most lawyers with years of experience handling traffic matters will be more than competent, and there are very few traffic offenses which implicate immigration concerns (DUI being the most likely, but only if it supports a belief that you are a habitual drunkard--a single offense would not typically qualify).



Appreciate your advise.


Consider whether the attorney listens to you, answers your questions, seems to know what he or she is doing, and whether you believe that the attorney would try his or her best on your behalf. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to go to trial. Consider seeking a confidential consultation.

Information in the reply is provided as a public service. It is neither a comprehensive statement of the law nor legal advice, and no one should rely on it as such. If you have a legal problem or question, you should consult with an attorney, who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. Responding to a post does not constitute legal representation. I am not your lawyer, until we make an agreement and I receive my fee. Beware that posts and replies are not confidential. Anyone can read them.


Obviously, a good first place to look is here on AVVO. Review the comments of prior clients. Pay attention to Avvo's notation as to whether the attorney has been the subject of bar disciplinary actions in order to assure that the attorney's reputation will not detract from his or her ability to represent you persuasively to the Court and to the prosecution. Ask the attorney to give you two or three examples, without naming names, of cases in which he's worked closely with an immigration attorney in the past and the results of that collaboration. If you don't truly understand something the attorney is telling you, ask him to try to explain it more clearly to you. Find out exactly what his fee covers and get a written retainer agreement. I wish you well.

This is not legal advice it is general information intended to guide you to speak directly with a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in Maryland.

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