If you have been charged with a criminal offense, one of the first things to consider is retaining a criminal defense lawyer. Deciding on who to hire takes careful consideration and assessment of relevant experience and qualifications. 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.
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 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 experienced 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.
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 defese 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 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 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.
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.