How To Choose the Right Defense Attorney
When you have been charged with a crime and ordered to appear in court, is intimidating or, for some, overwhelming. This is a normal reaction. The entire experience is foreign to you. You do not know what to expect. You do not know the court customs, the unwritten rules, the judges or the court staff. There are many unknowns when an individual is subjected to the justice system. How will the prosecutor and judge evaluate my case? Will the witnesses cooperate with the government? What can be done to effectively present mitigation to the prosecutor and judge to influence their decisions that will affect me, possibly for rest of my life? Over many, many years dealing with prosecutors and judges, Mr. Stanley has developed a keen awareness and skill in developing the best plan to address these questions and obtain the best possible outcome for his clients.
If you are being investigated for a crime or you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you need on your side an attorney with specialized experience in criminal law. There is no substitute for experience. I cannot emphasize this enough.
Why You Need an expert Criminal Defense LawyerBeing charged with any crime, whether major or minor, is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe penalties and consequences, such as jail time, having a criminal record for the rest of your life and loss of relationships and future job prospects, among other things. While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants the legal advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense LawyerThe attorney you choose should have specialized experience in criminal law, the energy and intelligence to be an effective advocate, and a commitment and dedication to do everything possible to help you with your case.
Criminal defense attorneys handle a variety of criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors, drug charges, white collar crimes, and many other state and federal crimes. When looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you'll want to find the best one for your case. As such, you should concentrate on the lawyer's expertise, skill level, and knowledge.
Also, because of the nature of what's at stake, it's important that the attorney you hire has the necessary skill level needed to defend the case, and is the one who actually conducts most of the work. For instance, you may need someone familiar with crime scene investigations, witness/victim/police interviewing, and/or extensive knowledge of polygraphs, sketches, photographs, and video.
Finally, because criminal laws and penalties vary by state, it's important that the attorney have experience with the state and local rules of court.
How to Find a Criminal Defense LawyerThere are numerous ways to find a criminal defense lawyer. Referrals from friends and family or online research may be a good start. However, in many instances, a person facing criminal charges may not wish to publicize the news of his or her arrest to extended family members and friends or may not have unlimited time to research online. As such, you may wish to find a local criminal defense lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories, such as Avvo or Linkedin
Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense LawyerBefore selecting a criminal defense lawyer, you should feel comfortable enough speaking with him or her concerning all aspects of your criminal charge. Below are some of the questions you should ask:
Do you have any experience handling cases similar to mine, and if so, how many years of actual criminal law experience?
How much of my criminal case will you actually handle? Will you assign my case to an attorney with less experience, or would a paralegal be doing most of the work on my case?
How many jury trials have you litigated and actually taken to a verdict? Do you have a reputation with the prosecutors as willing to take cases to trial if necessary?
How often do you work out plea agreements or ask for a lesser charge? Are you aggressive in negotiations? Are you willing to take the time to research and present a comprehensive argument to the prosecutor for leniency? Will you prepare a comprehensive letter with supporting documents and legal research to present to the prosecutor? Will you attempt to meet with the prosecutor to present mitigation on my case? Will you devote the time and energy on my case that will be necessary to achieve the outcome I want?
What are your attorney's fees? Do you offer a payment plan?
Criminal Defense Lawyer FeesThe cost of hiring a criminal defense lawyer will vary depending on a number of factors, including the attorney's experience, reputation, track record, and geographical location. Most criminal defense attorneys bill their time by a flat fee arrangement. Some bill on a hourly basis. Depending on the fee arrangement and your financial security, some attorneys may allow you to get on a payment plan with a substantial initial retainer.