Questions You Need To Ask Before You Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer
There are many crucial aspects that a person should consider when they are looking to hire a criminal defense attorney. This article will focus on some of the most important aspects a person should always consider before they make a crucial decision that will have a huge impact on their future. This article will give you things to consider and help you understand what to look for when you hire a criminal defense attorney.
Does the attorney only practice criminal defense?
There is a common saying, “Jack of all trades master of none.” This wise saying applies to attorneys. When a person gets admitted to practice law by a state bar, this attorney can practice any area of law they want. The attorney may practice tort law, business law, commercial law, family law, federal law, criminal law. Each area of law is complex and requires many years of training and hard work to master. If an attorney has a practice where they are practicing all the above-mentioned areas of law at once, how could the attorney possibly be an expert in criminal law? How can an attorney who spends the vast majority of their time practicing family law be a good criminal defense attorney for a person facing shoplifting charges?
Will the attorney provide you with good customer service?
I am amazed at how many times I get told by my clients or potential clients that they could never get a hold of their previous attorney. These people bitterly complain about how they left voice mail after voice mail and never had their calls returned and if they did get a call return it was days later. If the attorney you are going to consider using to defend your freedom will not give you a direct number to contact them 24/7, ask yourself why?
Does the attorney bill by the hour or bill a flat rate for criminal defense cases?
If your attorney bills you by the hour, make sure the hourly rate is clear in the retainer. Even if the hourly rate is clear beware! I have heard many people bitterly complain about how they get hit with huge bills that they were not expecting from their attorney for what appears to be a little amount of work. If you hire an attorney who charges a flat fee, you understand exactly what you will pay and when it is due. There will be no surprises!
Does your attorney have bad reviews?
While this is not a fire safe method to know if your attorney does good work, several bad reviews or a lot of good reviews says a lot about the attorney you are researching. Visit sites like AVVO.com and yelp.com to see what other people have to say about the lawyer you are about to trust your freedom with. Does you attorney have ethical problems? You can visit the state bar web page of the attorney you may hire to check up on their ethical or lack of ethical behavior. In Michigan, type in the name of the attorney at the state bar web page and it will tell you if the attorney is in good standing or not. At AVVO.com, you can type in the name of the attorney and it will let you know if the attorney has been disciplined.
Finally, trust your gut! If you do not feel you can get along with the attorney you are about to give your hard-earned money to, do not hire them! You need to have a good professional relationship with your attorney and if you feel an attorney is not someone you can professionally get along with, do not hire them!
Attorney Shawn James Haff has handled numerous criminal cases and owns a successful criminal defense law firm in Wyoming, Michigan.