Life can be unpredictable. If you find yourself facing possibility of criminal charges, you could benefit from talking to a defense attorney. Even if the charges are minor you need professional guidance. It’s always best to fully understand the charges against you and what might happen if you are convicted.
Know what a criminal defense attorney specializes in
Criminal defense attorneys are tasked with representing defendants charged with a crime. These attorneys spend most of their time dealing with criminal prosecutors this gives them valuable insight. Defense attorneys can easily spot pretrial issues, prepare and file motions, or in the best situations get your case dismissed. Chances are the attorney you are speaking with has handled cases almost identical to yours.
Choose a criminal defense attorney that specializes in your charges
Criminal defense attorneys can handle many types of cases. These cases might include simple routine traffic charges or more serious cases like robbery. Choose an attorney that knows and understands what you’re dealing with. Ask the attorney if they have handled similar cases. It might also be helpful to ask how many times and what the outcome was. The bottom line is you want an attorney to spend time on your case that fully understands the charges and processes you are facing.
Understand the difference between a defense attorney and a public defender
The Court usually assigns public defenders to defendants who are unable to retain private counsel. Public defenders generally have little time or resources to work with. They often find themselves with an enormous caseload and little time to spend preparing for court proceedings. The American Bar Association recommends that attorneys should not handle more than 100 cases at a time. Public defenders have reported being flooded with more than 200 cases in the recent past. This sheer volume of cases could place their clients constitutional rights at risk. For these reasons we recommend private counsel whenever possible.
What qualities are you looking for?
Choosing the right defense attorney is a very critical decision. You know what is important to you. Take your time and speak to several attorneys if you can. Qualities to consider are communication skills, trial experience & negotiating skills. Ask for references if possible.
Do your research
Taking time to gather information about your attorney choices is always the best approach. Interview the attorney face to face. Use the Internet to check the attorney’s background and credentials. Check and see what legal organizations the attorney belongs to. Find out what college and law school they attended. How long have they been in practice?
Here are some links to aid you in your research:
The State Bar Of California
Orange County Bar Association
Los Angeles County Bar Association
National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
Martindale-Hubbell Rating system