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Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer If you are facing a criminal charge, you want to hire a lawyer right away. You need a specialist in criminal defense in view of the fact that it is a highly specialized area of law. The following are guidelines you can use to initially screen lawyers before trimming down your list to about two or three: > Check out biographical information, including all that you can find on the websites of the attorneys. Are they experts in the type of case you have?
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> Search the Internet for information about the lawyers on your list. Do they have any materials published, such as e-books, FAQs, etc., that somehow make you more confident in their abilities? Make it a point to read online reviews to know what their past clients are saying about them. This can be one revealing part.
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> Get in touch with your state bar association or log on to their website to know if the lawyers are in good standing. As well, you’d like to know if they are affiliated with relevant associations, such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. > Determine any special needs you may have. For example, would you need an attorney who speaks another language aside from English? If a lawyer can’t meet with you on short notice, don’t eliminate him immediately. Good lawyers are usually busy, so they may have a hard time freeing some time up for a potential client. Criminal defense lawyers almost always charge a fixed, upfront fee or hourly. Your state’s professional conduct rules may bar your lawyer from being hired on a contingent fee arrangement with an individual charged with a crime. Rates are competitive so it is surely an advantage to shop around. Hire a lawyer who has substantial experience, especially in the particular case that you are facing, it’s a traffic violation, a drug crime, a sex offense, and so on and so forth. If your charge is rape, don’t get a lawyer who’s been mostly busy defending traffic violators. In a criminal case, plea agreements are usually entered with the district attorney’s office. This means the attorney should have a good working relationship with the prosecuting lawyer, or is at least a respected authority in legal circles. Therefore, you would like a lawyer who is highly visible in the jurisdiction your case is in. Lastly, just before you hire a particular lawyer: > Ask for references from those who can give feedback on your prospect’s abilities and reliability, but make sure you trust these people; > Ask for your own copy of the retainer agreement and have it discussed thoroughly to you; and > Ensure you have chemistry with attorney you hire as this can impact the strength of your case while you build it together.