Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney: The Information You Need
If you're looking for a criminal defense attorney, you'll quickly find that you have a plethora of choices. You may think that having an abundance of choice is a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming.
You can easily narrow down your choices by focusing on specialization. Yes, there are going to be firms out there that take any and all cases that come across the desk. But do you really want to get lost in the numbers? A better choice is to find a criminal defense attorney who works exclusively in the field of law your case resides within. If that narrows things down too much, you can broaden your search to include lawyers who work in one or two related fields. But the more specialization you can get, the better your search is going to proceed. Would you rather have a lawyer who handles a drug case (for example) once in a while, or someone whose entire career has been built around them? It makes a difference.
Don't be afraid to ask a criminal defense attorney about his track record. What is his win-loss percentage? He knows. He may not put it on a plaque in the lobby, but he knows. Now, it's important to understand that you aren't going to find a lawyer who has a winning percentage that sounds anywhere near impressive to the uninitiated, unless they are highly selective about the cases they take. Prosecutors don't bring cases to trial unless they are confident in their chances of securing a conviction. In most jurisdictions, that confidence is going to be borne out with a very high conviction rate. Make no mistake about it: you're facing terrible odds. But having a lawyer who has at least won his fair share of cases can give you the best shot possible.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney can and will be expensive. If you can't afford one, you can always go with the public defender's office, though the level of representation you get from there will be nowhere near as elevated. Do what you can to scrape together the money for a good lawyer, as your freedom may depend on it.
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