You’ve been taken into custody and are now facing significant felony accusations. You’ve never been in trouble (or maybe you have) and have no idea what to do, but you certainly didn’t intend on spending Christmas in jail. You know you need an attorney, but you don’t know who to call because you don’t have any relatives or family who are lawyers. Regardless of who you choose to represent you, there are a few basic things you should ask any attorney you interview. You may find more details about this at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. – Stuart Criminal Attorney
- Do you have any experience with criminal law?
Many attorneys used to be “general practise” attorneys who could be contacted if you were arrested, needed a divorce, needed a Last Will and Testament, or were wounded in a car accident. Attorneys and legal firms are increasingly focusing on one or two areas of law as the law has grown and become more difficult. Many lawyers either do not represent criminal defendants or do not handle criminal cases on a regular basis. As a result, you should probably ask an attorney if they handle criminal matters as a large part of their business before making a final decision.
- Do you have experience with the type of case I’ve been charged with?
Even among criminal lawyers, there are those who specialise in specific types of cases and those who refuse to take on cases involving specific offences. For example, some criminal defence attorneys solely work in state court, while others also work in federal court. Federal law is very uniform across the country, but it might differ significantly from state criminal law practise. Attorneys that specialise in federal criminal matters can be found all around the country. Furthermore, some attorneys refuse to take on certain types of cases, such as DUI, murder, or child sex charges, due to personal preferences or preconceptions. Another factor to consider before hiring an attorney is whether they have experience with the type of issue you are currently dealing with.
- What kind of outcomes have you had in situations comparable to mine?
While you may have identified an attorney who specialises in criminal situations similar to yours, make sure they have experience handling cases like yours with positive outcomes for their clients. You may not want to engage an attorney who frequently pleads all of their clients guilty to severe prison sentences because you may not want to. You should find out if they’ve ever tried a case like yours to a jury and what kind of results they’ve gotten. You can get a decent idea of your prospective attorney’s knowledge and comfort level in handling issues like yours by looking at the results he or she has got in instances similar to yours.