Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Are you facing or may potentially be facing a criminal charge? If so, you are probably experiencing fear, confusion, anxiety and other uncomfortable emotions. It is important to obtain the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to guide you in the intricate process. This task may seem difficult and daunting, and at the same time, imperative to find the right counsel for you and your situation. In order to choose the best attorney for your case, we recommend that you arrive at your consultation prepared with the following five questions which will help you determine who will best represent you.
How much will your services cost?
They will likely bill one of three ways. Either an attorney will bill hourly, require a retainer fee, or they will bill you a fixed rate for your particular type of case.
Hourly: When an attorney bills by the hour, they will let you know their fixed hourly rate along with an estimate of how many hours they believe they will be working on your case. This arrangement can work very well for those who have a seemingly open and shut case. However, there is always a risk that circumstances may cause the case to run longer than expected and end up costing substantially more than originally estimated.
Retainer fee: The attorney will estimate the amount of time it will take to complete your case and require payment of a retainer based off of the number of hours estimated multiplied by their hourly rate. This payment will be required up front with the potential of additional payment due if more hours are needed.
Fixed rate billing: Some attorneys have predetermined rates for specific types of cases. With this style of billing, the number of hours spent on your case does not affect the fee. It is always important to find out if the fixed rate includes only the pretrial portion of your case or if it includes everything.
Who can I expect to work with?
Knowing who is handling your case is important and includes details you will want to take into thoughtful consideration. Some attorneys may handle your case completely on their own, while others may enlist the assistance of a team of professionals including paralegals, interns, and sometimes other attorneys. The types of things that are generally being handled include document review, gathering facts, legal research, and filing paperwork with the court. All of these aspects must be handled carefully in order to ensure that your case runs efficiently and thoroughly without details being overlooked or confused.
How much experience do you have with cases like mine?
When it comes to criminal defense, there are many different types of cases that attorneys handle. You want to be sure that your attorney has experience dealing with cases like yours, as well as a record of success with previous cases. With all of the nuances of the different types of criminal defense cases, it is imperative that your lawyer has valuable experience in your specific type of case. Although that doesn’t guarantee that your case will be successful, it does give you a greater chance for a positive outcome.
Do you have a lot of experience in court?
A common occurrence in criminal cases is resolution through plea bargains. This prevents the case from going to trial, as well as lessens the charges. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge in order to have the original charge or charges dropped ends up saving time in court, as well as potential for even more severe penalties for the defendant. With that, having an attorney who has spent a significant amount of time in a trial setting and is proficient at litigating cases like yours may mean the difference between being convicted or not.
How will I know about the progress of my case?
Whether it is over phone calls or scheduled in-person appointments, clear and regular communication with your attorney must be established. Your preferred method and frequency of communication should be a shared preference with your attorney. Being diligent about establishing this need ahead of time will be a big factor in your overall experience and potentially the success of your case.
At The Defenders, our attorneys have years of experience dealing with criminal charges and know the legal system better than anyone else. We are available to answer these and any questions you have in order for you to determine if we are the right attorneys to defend you or a loved one who is facing charges. Our attorneys will aggressively fight by your side and determine what the best course of action is moving forward.