If you are being charged with a crime, it may be tempting to go to court without representation from a criminal defense attorney . Defendants are often tempted to seek a court appointed lawyer for criminal cases, not knowing that not everyone is entitled to a court appointed free criminal defense lawyer. Defendants must meet certain criteria, such as proof of low income or be deemed mentally incapacitated. Defendants who do meet the requirement will not have much access to their criminal defense lawyer, as these attorneys tend to have enormous case loads and precious few resources to handle them.
If you have made up your minder to hire a local criminal defense attorney, there are several things to take into consideration, aside from cost of a good criminal defense lawyer.
Determine whether or not you need a lawyer.
No matter how minor the charges against you may be, it is always a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you choose not to retain an attorney, a consultation can help better understand the charges you are facing, explore the possible outcomes your case may have, and to understand the rights you have.
A local criminal defense attorney can help identify pretrial issues and file motions which can alter the severity or the charges, or in some cases have the case dismissed altogether.
Defendants facing more severe criminal charges definitely benefit the most from retaining legal counsel in the early stages of their case as an experienced criminal defense attorney has the skills to negotiate plea bargains or adequately prepare a case to go to trial.
Schedule more than one consultation
Even if you choose not to retain an attorney, scheduling more than one consultation can help understand the nature of the charges brought against you as well as the possible outcomes of your case. Consult different attorneys and explore what legal strategies are available to you. Do not hire an attorney you feel you can’t trust, or that does not seem to take your case seriously.
Take into account the attorney’s past experience handling similar cases.
When looking for a criminal defense lawyer, look for one with an extensive history in handling cases similar to yours. For example, if you are charged with driving under the Influence, DUI, look for a DUI lawyer who has several years of successfully representing DUI cases in Miami; this ensures they are familiar with legal landscape in your area, and can cater to the specific nuances of your case. Be sure to ask if the attorney has handled many cases that have been heard before a jury, and what success rate they have.
Ask how much your defense will cost
It is standard practice for a criminal defense attorney to request a retainer, often in the range of several thousand dollars, in advance, even if you are charged with a minor crime. The retainer for felony cases can be a bit higher. Ask the attorney what other fees you will have to pay across different legal scenarios.
The total cost of a criminal defense case depends on several factors such as the nature of the charges, complexity of the case, and the jurisdiction. Your selection of an attorney should not be based solely on the cost of the criminal defense attorney, but invest in an attorney with the experience and dedication to handle your case.
Is the attorney local
Many criminal defense attorneys mount massive marketing campaigns nationwide, in areas where they have never resided or practiced; ultimately lacking the knowledge of the local legal climate. A local criminal defense attorney, like the ones here at the Gallardo law firm, will be familiar with the local judges, have access to reputable expert witnesses, and have extensive experience with the local prosecutors. These factors should not be taken lightly when developing a winning legal strategy.
No one ever wants to be in a situation where they need a criminal defense attorney. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges don’t wait until the last minute to consult a criminal defense lawyer. Call the Gallardo Law Firm; it is never too late to consult an attorney.