Years ago, someone arrested for and accused of a criminal offense relied on “word of mouth” in searching for a criminal defense attorney. However, times have changed, and now the most likely move is to reach for a smartphone, tablet or computer.
A Google search for a criminal defense attorney will result in pages after pages of attorneys claiming to have the experience and ability to successfully defend a criminal case. Google ads and fancy websites flood the Internet. So if you are charged with a crime, and your future, career, reputation, family’s security and freedom are on the line, how do you make the decision of which attorney to hire?
A Google search result for a criminal defense attorney is swamped with the word experience. However, the only important fact to learn regarding experience is: what experience does the attorney have.
Experience handling criminal cases does not necessarily equate to experience in arguing important motions or conducting a jury trial. Hiring an attorney who is not experienced in the trial of criminal cases is the same as hiring a surgeon who has never operated on a patient. If your case is important to you, then now is the time to ask questions, not just read ads. The experience gained from trying a case before a jury cannot be learned from a book. Experience in trial provides a criminal defense attorney with the insight to what witnesses to call, what witnesses not to call, what questions to ask, what questions not to ask, what motions to argue, what defense to employ, and much more. Additionally, a prosecutor evaluating your case will certainly factor in the trial experience and acumen of your criminal defense attorney.
INTERVIEW THE LAWYER
In the Internet Age, anyone can pay money to reach page one on Google, with the use of ads, website experts and other tools. But someone looking for a criminal defense attorney should be careful not to hire the attorney skilled in marketing as opposed criminal law. Many good criminal defense attorneys also market well, but simply appearing on page one of a Google search does not alone make a criminal defense attorney.
Choosing a criminal defense attorney is a potentially life-changing decision. Take the time to interview him or her. An experienced and skilled defense attorney will have no problem answering any questions you ask.
A person must feel comfortable and place trust in the criminal defense attorney. Like anyone else, many good criminal defense attorneys have different personalities. It is important to get a feel for the prospective defense attorney you will retain because you will work closely together.
The last recommendation comes from the many times my office has received a telephone call to basically ask “what is the going rate for representation on such and such type of case?” I would urge individuals seeking representation for a criminal matter, particularly given all that is at stake, to not shop for prices. Shop for the right attorney. Everything else will come together.