Tips to Help You Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
Seeking out a defense attorney can ensure your best interests are represented in court. Searching for a lawyer can be daunting, but this can be one of the most important steps of the entire case. However, there are many elements to consider before selecting an attorney to represent your claim.
If you’re in legal trouble, it helps to have a plan. Hiring the first criminal defense attorney you find or using a court-appointed attorney may prove costly. That’s why it can be extremely important to vet your options before deciding. Read on for more tips about how you can find a Miami criminal defense attorney with years of experience and expertise.
Before hiring a criminal defense attorney, it’s important to understand what you need and how they can assist. The consequences you face will differ based on the charges. Criminal defense law covers:
Violations can include disorderly conduct, trespassing, or unlawful possession. If you were charged with a violation, you could face up to 15 days in jail or a small fine.
Misdemeanors are more serious than violations. These types of crimes are broken into varying classes or degrees, depending on the state. First Degree Misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. Some misdemeanors include battery, cruelty to animals, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail or six months probation and a $500 fine. Some Second Degree Misdemeanors include driving with a suspended license, disorderly intoxication, and trespassing charges.
Felonies are the most serious types of crime. You could get jailed for life if you’re charged with a first-degree felony. Some common felonies in Florida include assault, battery, carjacking, homicide, incest, kidnapping, robbery, sexual battery, stalking, and grand theft. Felony punishments can range between one year and death, depending on the degree of the felony.
The specifics of your case and the type of criminal charges you face can help you determine which type of lawyer you require. Once you understand the specifics of your case, you can find the right criminal defense attorney for your situation.
When deciding on which lawyer to entrust with your case, consider how long they’ve practiced law. Securing a defense lawyer with a considerable amount of experience trying cases similar to yours successfully in your community can help you get ahead on your defense.
Since laws can differ based on where the charges were filed, it’s imperative to find a criminal defense litigator with years of experience in your area. They’ll understand the laws and procedures relevant to your case and leverage their previous experience when building your defense, too. Experienced lawyers will be more effective and efficient in building your defense strategy.
Remember, there is a vast difference in practicing law in state court versus federal court. There are different rules for practicing in federal court. If you’re facing federal criminal charges, choose a lawyer who practices in federal criminal courts.
You also want to consider an attorney with trial experience. Although many criminal cases settle with plea agreements, your case may go to trial. Therefore, you want to choose a lawyer who has exceptional negotiating skills combined with successful trial skills.
Narrow down your options by reading reviews about potential attorneys. The Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listings provide reviews for local criminal defense attorneys, and you can check their websites for testimonials.
If you find an abundance of negative reviews, you may want to avoid that attorney.
When choosing the best criminal defense lawyer, go with someone who has a strong reputation and a winning track record.
If you know someone in the criminal justice system, ask them which attorney they would choose if they needed a criminal defense lawyer. Criminal justice system workers have background knowledge about which attorneys are reliable, have a winning record, and are respected by judges, peers, and court personnel in your community.
Scheduling a consultation with a few lawyers on your list can help you choose the one that best matches your case, temperament, and budget. Criminal law professionals suggest paying attention to how the lawyer communicates. You can also use your consultation appointment to ask the following questions and discuss the details of your case:
- Can you explain the worst-case scenario and the best-case scenario?
- Do you belong to any professional organizations?
- Do you hold any specializations?
- How long have you practiced criminal law?
- How many cases do you handle with the same charges I face?
- How often do your cases go to trial?
- What are my legal options?
- What are the potential problems you foresee with my case?
- What costs or other items are not included in your fee?
- What factors are in my favor?
- What is your success rate at trial?
- What is your fee schedule?
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