For most people, being prosecuted for a criminal offense is a frightening, and often life-altering, experience. The outcome of a criminal trial can certainly affect your future as well as your freedom. With that in mind, choosing the best criminal defense attorney possible should be your first priority if you find yourself facing criminal charges. If you have never before needed a criminal attorney though, you may not know where to start finding one. Ultimately, only you can decide if an attorney is right for your case; however, the following tips will help hire the best criminal defense attorney.
Tips to Help You Hire the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
- Define your goals. If this is your first brush with the law, this may sound strange. You may be thinking that every defendant’s goal is to avoid a conviction; however, that is not always the case. Sometimes, negotiating the most advantageous guilty plea agreement is actually a defendant’s goal, particularly if the offense is not a serious one and the defendant is in custody. If you are adamant about mounting a defense and taking your case to trial, you need to focus on a criminal defense attorney who has significant jury trial experience. Not all criminal attorneys advocate trials. Some focus more on the negotiation of plea agreements, hence the need to define your goals.
- Review your finances. The issues of an attorney’s fee is always a touchy one; however, the reality is that mounting a winning defense will cost you. Although there is no always a direct correlation between the size of a criminal defense attorney’s fee and his/her skills and abilities, the old adage “you get what you pay for” does often apply when hiring an attorney. As is the case is just about any profession, the more experienced and successful an attorney is the higher his/her fee is likely to be. As such, you need to consider what you can realistically afford to pay. Some criminal defense attorney will negotiate their fee while others will not. Likewise, some will accept payment arrangements while other expect the entire fee up front. It never hurts to ask an attorney to lower his/her fee and/or if you can make payments. The worst thing they can say is “no.”
- Start looking as soon as possible. Do not put off looking for an attorney! Not only could you inadvertently harm your case by saying or doing something you shouldn’t without an attorney to consult with, but mounting a proper defense takes time. By waiting until the last minute to make it much more difficult for any attorney to help you.
- Ask for referrals. You may be leery of this idea as you may not want any to know about your situation; however, you would be surprised at how many people you know that have been in a similar situation or had a loved one is a similar situation. Those people can be an excellent source of first-hand referrals which are often the very best way to find the very best criminal defense attorney.
- Do your own research. While it is never advisable to choose a criminal defense attorney based solely on the content of a website, you can find some valuable information on an attorney’s website. If you don’t have referrals to go on, you can at least start your search by doing an internet search for criminal defense lawyers in your area. Pay particular attention to what type of law they practice. Although any licensed attorney can practice almost any type of law, you do not want an attorney who focuses the majority of his/her practice on family or personal injury law to handle your criminal case. You want an attorney who handles only, or at least predominantly, criminal law cases.
- Schedule consultations. Most attorneys offer a free, or low cost, initial consultation. Once you have your search narrowed down to the top two or three attorneys, schedule consultations. Prepare ahead of time as you may not have much time if the consultation is free. Ask your most important questions. Most importantly, consider how you feel about the attorney and his/her staff. At the end of this process, you should be prepared to hire the best criminal defense attorney.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.
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