An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated assault or another crime has the potential to cause considerable problems down the line. A criminal conviction makes it difficult to find work that pays a living wage and even rent an apartment. This is precisely why the quality of the accused’s criminal defense attorney is of the utmost importance. An elite criminal defense attorney has the potential to make the difference between a criminal conviction that ruins a person’s life and beating the charge and ensuring continued freedom.
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Choose Your Attorney Carefully
The attorney you select in the aftermath of a criminal charge has the potential to affect your financial future, personal relationships, educational opportunities and reputation. No two criminal defense attorneys are equal in all regards.
Some are more experienced than others. Certain criminal defense attorneys are more detail-oriented than others. Some criminal defense attorneys will zealously litigate on behalf of their clients while others take on an abundance of clients and cannot represent them as comprehensively as necessary to beat the charge and help them retain their freedom.
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Public Defenders Vs. Private Attorneys
Public defenders, sometimes referred to as assigned counsel, are available to those who cannot afford a private attorney. However, some of those who qualify for legal representation through a public defender still choose a private attorney. Though some public defenders are certainly skilled and hardworking, they typically carry more cases than private attorneys.
A public defender who is short on time and receives minimal compensation is unlikely to be motivated to review the nuances of each client’s case to the depth necessary to clear their name. Alternatively, private attorneys are comparably expensive yet they typically have more merit than public defenders and also carry a smaller caseload so they can provide each client with the appropriate level of attention.
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Focus on Relevant Experience
Above all, the attorney’s experience matters more than anything. If the legal practitioner you have in mind lacks experience defending those accused of crimes or the specific crime you have been charged with, hiring him or her is not in your interest. As an example, if you are facing assault charges in Texas, the attorney you select should have successfully defended at least one person against an assault charge in the Lone Star State.
Furthermore, some attorneys do not devote the majority of their time to criminal defense. There is no harm in asking prospective attorneys how many cases they carry and the percentage of their cases that are civil versus criminal.
Access to Experts and Litigation Resources
Some law firms have considerable resources while others are more self-reliant. Self-reliance is certainly admirable, yet it has the potential to backfire in the context of battling criminal charges. Find out if the law firm you are considering has resources such as private investigators who can delve into the details of your case. Furthermore, some law firms have a full network of experts who specialize in specific niches. This narrow expertise really does have the potential to make or break your case. Though such litigation resources and access to experts will cost more than desired, they are well worth it considering your fate hangs in the balance.
When in Doubt, Opt for a Local Attorney with a Track Record of Success
If you are on the fence as to which attorney is best for your criminal case, opt for a local attorney who has successfully defended others against criminal charges in the courthouse where your hearing will be held. Such a local alliance is favorable as the attorney will prove knowledgeable of local procedures and practices. The attorney might even know the judge presiding over your case or successfully defended one or several other clients in front of that judge.
Furthermore, there is the potential for procedural issues to differ in accordance with each courthouse. Opt for a local attorney who understands these nuances and your chances of retaining your freedom will be that much better.
Above all, You Should be Comfortable with the Attorney You Select
Keep in mind the attorney you select will speak on your behalf in a court of law. If you are not personally comfortable with the attorney in question speaking for you when your fate hangs in the balance, move on to the next candidate. Do not stop searching for an attorney until you are completely certain he or she will include you in the decision-making process, adequately represent you in court and fiercely advocate on your behalf to ensure justice is served. In short, the attorney you select should view you as a partner as opposed to just another case file that presents an opportunity to make money.
A Matter of Trust
The moral of this story is each attorney has his or her own merits and shortcomings. If you cannot trust the attorney in question to properly handle your case or engender trust with the judge and jurors, do not let him or her represent you. You should completely trust your attorney to the point that you confide in him or her about your insecurities pertaining to your case and the truth of the incident in question. Do not stop searching until you find an attorney who inspires this level of trust and rapport.
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