If you've been accused of a crime, you'll need the very best legal representation to get you out of your difficulties. But what separates a great criminal defense attorney from a merely good one? Here are a few tips for finding a seasoned, dependable lawyer who will help defend your innocence.
Know Your Options
There are two main types of criminal defense lawyer. State attorneys defend those who have been accused of breaking state laws, including contract violations and traffic disputes, whereas federal attorneys are for more serious crimes like drugs, robberies, assaults, etc. Depending on your type of case, you may be better off with one kind of lawyer in particular.
If you are fighting a minor charge based on laws within your own state or county, it's a good idea to hire an attorney who actually resides there. For example, if you're looking for a Houston criminal defense lawyer, you'll want to find someone like Dick DeGuerin. People who live within their practice areas have an insider's knowledge of how the local courts work.
Research Their Qualifications
Most defense attorneys are members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers or the criminal justice section of the American Bar Associate. Others might be registered with your State Bar Association. Look for these degrees and certificates on a lawyer's website or in their office when you have your first consultation.
Find a Specialist
Avoid any lawyer who claims to be a jack of all trades. They may very well have experience in dozens of different case types, but there's no way they can be an expert in all of them, and an expert is what you need when your freedom is on the line. Find someone with a dedicated and focused history against the charges you're trying to fight.
Avoid Public Defenders
Public defenders are ones appointed by the state when the accused can't afford or can't find their own. It may be tempting to let the courts take the decision out of your hands, but public defenders are notoriously overworked. Some of them juggle more than 200 cases at a time! If you want your lawyer's full attention and effort, go the private route.
These are just a few suggestions for finding a criminal defense attorney who can get the job done. You don't want to entrust your future to someone who can't handle it, so take your time and make a well-informed decision after considering all aspects of your choice.