We all know how tough it can be to find the right attorney. The search can be even more challenging when your liberty or life is on the line.
To help you navigate around the hacks and quacks, we proudly present the top 10 questions you should ask a criminal defense attorney before hiring him.
1 – Will you personally be handling my case?
Many large firms have several different attorneys, paralegals, and interns working on your case. We all know the famous phrase, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
When too many people are handling your case, there are bound to be things that one person forgets to tell another and the margin of error increases exponentially.
Make sure that the attorney you build a rapport with is the one who will be handling your case and representing you in court.
2 – How often do you make court appearances?
Many criminal lawyers simply settle cases through plea bargains and have very little in-court experience.
If your case is even the slightest bit complicated, you will want to make sure that your criminal defense attorney knows a thing or two about going to court and trying cases.
3 – What areas of criminal law are you most experienced with?
This is a question many people forget to ask. Do not assume that every criminal defense attorney handles every type of criminal case.
Make sure that the crime you are charged with matches up with the area of practice that your potential attorney has the most experience with.
4 – How long have you been handling criminal defense cases?
Although there is nothing wrong with hiring a brand-new attorney, it is always best to hire a criminal defense attorney who has genuine experience.
There simply is no substitute for an attorney who has litigated in the courthouse that you are going to, knows what to expect from prosecutors, and understands how to best present your side of the story to a jury of your peers
5 – What type of fee do you charge?
There are tons of fee arrangements out there. Personal injury attorneys usually work on a contingency basis. Other lawyers want a flat fee while many require you to provide a retainer up front.
It is crucial to find out what kind of fee you are being asked to pay before you find yourself blindsided by a 5-page fee agreement filled with confusing legal jargon that makes you feel like you need an attorney just to hire an attorney.
6 – How much do your services cost?
Although this question seems rather obvious, you might be surprised that several clients never ask until it comes time to sign their fee agreement.
Make sure that this is one of the first questions you ask. It is vital that you know how much your attorney is charging for his time.
7 – Are there any other fees that I am responsible for?
Remember, if your case goes to trial, you are going to need experts to testify (and they are not cheap).
It also costs a lot of money to file complaints, motions, and briefs.
You ought to ask if the fee you are paying for your attorney’s time and effort includes all of these miscellaneous costs. More often than not, it does not.
Ultimately, it is imperative that you find out how much you can be expected to pay in total for your criminal defense attorney.
8 – What exactly are you going to do for me that I cannot do myself?
Although this question may seem confrontational, it no doubt needs to be asked.
If the attorney cannot explain to you what it is that he can do for you, how he can help you, and why you need him to do all of that, then he is certainly not the lawyer for you.
9 – How often will I hear from you?
Many people hire an attorney who is competent and quite capable, but rarely (if ever) hear from him on a regular basis.
Be sure to find out how often you can expect to receive updates regarding the progress of your case, and hire an attorney who will communicate with you as often (or as little) as you want.
10 – What are my obligations?
After finding out everything that the attorney can do for you, make sure to cover all of your bases.
Sometimes you will be expected to provide your attorney with documents that will help him build a case.
Sometimes you may need to disclose things to an attorney that might make you feel a little uncomfortable.
For example, if you have prior criminal convictions, outstanding warrants, etc. All of this will need to be revealed to your criminal defense attorney in order to properly defend you.
As such, make sure to find out from the get-go what these obligations may entail, and hire an attorney who you will feel most comfortable telling such things to.
If you or someone else you know was charged with a crime, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm. With Adam H. Rosenblum at the helm, you will be getting a competent and experienced attorney who will be ready to defend all aspects of your legal rights.