6 Important Questions To Ask A Criminal Lawyer Before Hiring Them

Last updated on April 11, 2024

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, one of the first things to consider is retaining a Long Island criminal defense lawyer. Deciding on an attorney to hire takes careful consideration and assessment of relevant experience and qualifications. Representation by a criminal lawyer is important when being charged with a criminal case as your rights are at stake. Below are 6 important questions you will want to ask before hiring a criminal defense attorney.

1. Do you offer a free consultation?

When you have been charged with a criminal offense, you should first speak with an attorney by phone or in person.  At times it is difficult to tell if a lawyer is right for you simply by looking at their website or speaking on the phone.  However, a phone consultation is an important first step to hiring a defense attorney.  Top defense lawyers often offer a free consultation, this helps the potential clients decide if the attorney is a good fit, and for the attorney to decide if they want to take your case.

To schedule a free consultation with top Suffolk County criminal defense attorney Jason Bassett, call today at (631) 259-6060.

2. In what areas of criminal law do you have the most experience?

Much like how there are doctors who are experts in certain medical fields, lawyers are not a one-size-fits-all all solution for legal issues. Even within criminal law, attorneys will specialize in certain areas. So before hiring a criminal defense lawyer, it is important to ask what part of criminal law they have the most experience. Hire the criminal defense lawyer who has the most experience in the area that your case falls under. Whether you are looking for a domestic violence attorney, a DWI  lawyer, or a federal criminal defense attorney, make sure you ask your lawyer about their prior experience.

Questions for criminal lawyer on Long Island

3. What types of fees will I be expected to pay for your services?

It is important to understand all the fees you will be responsible for early on in the process.

First, understand the type of fee arrangement your lawyer prefers. Some criminal attorneys will charge based on a flat fee while others require you to pay a retainer.

Next, find out how much you will be expected to pay for their services for your particular case. Establishing an estimate at the very beginning not only helps to avoid surprises down the road, but it will also help with your financial planning.

Finally, find out how miscellaneous costs will be dealt with. Depending on how your case goes, you may incur additional costs that extend beyond the legal services provided by your criminal lawyer. These would include, filing of complaints, motions, and briefs.

Make sure to ask your criminal defense lawyer if the firm will be paying for these or will the expense come out of your pocket.

4. Will you be handling my case personally?

This one may seem like a silly question to ask but it is a good idea to know who you should expect to see at legal proceedings such as depositions and trials. It is very common for you to meet with an experienced attorney, top of the firm with decades of experience handling cases just like yours. Then when it comes time for trial, the firm sends one of the more inexperienced defense lawyers, fresh out of law school to represent you.  If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney with more than 20 years of experience who personally represents all of his clients, call Jason Bassett today.

5. How accessible can I expect you to be?

Having access to your lawyer is extremely important when you have been charged with a crime. You may be anxious about legal proceedings, procedures, or additional criminal charges. Being able to make a quick call or text to your criminal lawyer will be able to put your mind at ease. If you end up being arrested or contacted by the police, you will need to get a hold of your criminal lawyer immediately.

6. How much trial experience do you have?

Many criminal cases are settled out of court through plea bargains and as such many criminal attorneys are more experienced in negotiating plea deals than pleading cases in court.

If your case is complex and requires going to trial, you will need a lawyer who has court experience. A criminal defense attorney who is experienced with the trial will not only be aware of the many specific procedures and processes, but they will also have the necessary background to properly prepare you in key aspects such as cross-examination and testifying.

The Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

A personal criminal defense attorney can help the defendant by conducting an independent investigation into all the events that led to the charges. Criminal defense attorneys can also evaluate each piece of evidence separately and determine whether the evidence is legally admissible. Public defenders are not likely to petition the court for a motion for the suppression of evidence, but this should be one of the primary functions of a defense lawyer. 

Even if the state has a strong case against the defendant, evidence may be dismissed and not taken into consideration if you have a skilled defense lawyer by your side. Hiring your own criminal defense attorney may also help you move for a case to go to trial. A trial is something that prosecutors usually do not want as prosecutors usually want to pursue a conviction as soon as possible. 

Hiring a criminal defense attorney may help the defendant pursue all legal avenues to protect their rights. Find a legal counsel that focuses on reducing charges or dismissing the case rather than negotiating a plea deal. Having an aggressive criminal defense lawyer can be a great investment toward a defendant’s freedom and future.

It is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer who is highly skilled in criminal law to represent your case. Attorney Jason Bassett may be able to help. We serve the areas of Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.

Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Description
Independent Investigation Criminal defense attorneys conduct independent investigations into the events leading to the charges, evaluating evidence for admissibility.
Motion for Suppression of Evidence Defense lawyers can petition the court for the suppression of evidence, potentially leading to dismissal or reduction of charges.
Trial Representation Skilled defense attorneys may help move the case to trial, providing an opportunity to challenge the prosecution’s case in court.
Protection of Legal Rights Criminal defense lawyers pursue all legal avenues to protect defendants’ rights, focusing on reducing charges or dismissing the case.
Aggressive Advocacy Hiring an aggressive criminal defense lawyer can be an investment in a defendant’s freedom and future, ensuring a robust defense strategy.

How Do I Choose Between Two Lawyers?

Choosing the right lawyer can be a pivotal factor in the successful outcome of your case. When you’re faced with a decision between two attorneys, it’s essential to focus on their experience, as it directly impacts their capability to handle your unique legal situation. However, there may be other factors that you’d want to consider depending on your specific case:

  • Experience Matters: You need a lawyer with a proven track record in dealing with cases similar to yours. This means looking beyond just the years of practice to understand their success rate with your type of legal issue. An attorney’s experience in a specific field will bring valuable insights and strategies that are critical for navigating your case effectively.
  • Examine Their History: Consider the attorney’s length of service, the number of cases handled within your area of need, and their geographic familiarity. Prior case results are a strong indicator of what you can expect. Lawyers with the right experience will have a keen understanding of the potential adversaries, the legal landscape, and the unique challenges that may arise in your case.
  • Research and Review: A thorough examination of the law firm’s website should give you a clear picture of their experience. Look for the scope and breadth of their practice areas to ensure they align with your needs. Additionally, conduct an online search for both the firm and the individual lawyers. This can reveal their reputation, client reviews, and any additional information that may influence your decision.

Ample time and research can help you narrow down your choices. Furthermore, when you make the decision, an initial consultation with your attorney of choice can provide crucial insight as to how your dynamic with your attorney will be for the rest of your case.

What is a Lawyer Consultation?

A lawyer consultation is a meeting in which a prospective client talks about their legal problem and asks the attorney for legal advice. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it’s crucial to get legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A consultation with a criminal defense lawyer can help you gain a better grasp of the complexities of New York criminal law and offer insightful information about the possible outcomes of your case. 

Scheduling a meeting with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can be very helpful for your defense. By getting an initial consultation, you are already doing more for your legal defense than many other defendants by asking for assistance. 

The second step is to compile all the documentation required for your case. You may or may not have obtained paperwork from the police or the court, depending on how your case was started. Relevant documentation could be a citation, a court order, or a bail receipt that has been duly signed. You can also include any other case-related documents that would be helpful in describing the nature of the charges filed against you. 

The third step is to record what happened. If you list the events in the order they happened and shortly after the incident, you will remember them more clearly. You may have noticed that when you write, you remember information that you otherwise would have forgotten.

Contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the fourth step. Even though it may be intimidating to meet with a lawyer, it is the wisest course of action. It is important to remember that your criminal lawyer would be acting as your advocate and defending your rights. In your consultation, your attorney will analyze your case and go over the criminal procedures involved, possible penalties upon conviction, and your available legal options. 

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the fourth step. Whether you hire the attorney after a consultation is your choice and you should decide based on whether you think they can provide you with the legal help you require. 

An attorney can provide you with advice on how to protect your rights. An attorney can also help guarantee a fair trial and assist you in understanding the repercussions of entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. An attorney can also walk you through any possible legal defenses that would apply in your case. Choosing the right criminal defense attorney for your case is important when faced with criminal charges. 

Hire Top Suffolk County Criminal Defense Attorney

Choosing the right criminal defense attorney to represent you requires a great deal of research and consideration. Asking these 6 questions before hiring any criminal defense lawyer will ensure that you find the right one who will be the best for your case. Contact us today to speak with top Suffolk County, Long Island criminal defense lawyer Jason Bassett.

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