How to find a criminal lawyer that can help you with your trial case

If you are under investigation into a criminal case, you need a help of a good criminal defense lawyer to fight the justice back. Our world is full of unexpected things and no one can predict what might happen tomorrow. There is no kind of insurance to protect you from all challenges of life. In some cases people can handle problems on their own, but, sometimes, things which are over your head may occur. And one of those things is troubles with the law.

If someone, accused with a crime, is asking, “will I need a criminal lawyer near me?”, the answer is certainly yes. In this article, you will find out the main principles of hiring a professional criminal law attorney, things that should be noticed or avoided and what to do when you don’t have enough resources for a personal defense attorney.

Criminal defense attorney discussing the contract with his client

Why you need a criminal lawyer to represent you in court

You need to make careful choices about your criminal attorney firm because she or he plays a major role in the protection of your interests and rights in a court. As a rule, a person convicted of a crime is losing his/her control and could make some tragic mistakes that will lead to very bad results. But, it is crucial to be focused and pay attention to what you are saying in such situations. Every little word could be turned into the deadliest weapon against you. That’s why you should hire a competent criminal defense lawyer who is able to solve all your problems quickly.

Many people think that they’re smart enough to represent themselves in a trial, but it is a huge mistake. An extensive experience and deep understanding of a certain branch of law are needed to defend rights and interests in a trial. If you were accused of criminal violations, no matter what the charge is, you need an advice of a criminal lawyer.

In some cases, there is no need of hiring a criminal defense attorney, but you should ask for a legal consultation anyway. It is free and will help you understand the charges against you. Also, your criminal lawyer may offer you a trial strategy, explain your future steps if you’re convicted and your chances for a plea deal. Moreover, there is no need of personal criminal attorney if you are facing some misdemeanor charges, like a battery, assault or lesser burglary - attorney consultation or public defender services would be enough(we will talk more about public defenders later). But if you’ve been charged with serious crimes or a felony such as DUI charges, armed robbery or domestic violence (in some cases), you should hire a defense attorney, because it is, probably, the only way to protect your interests in court.

A help of a lawyer doesn’t come cheap, but is surely worth every penny. You shouldn’t worry if you can’t afford lawyer’s services, such situations are dealt with public defenders. These lawyers offer their help for free, so if you haven't been charged with serious violations, they can help you with your charges. But keep in mind, that public defenders are extremely limited in resources and time to devote much time to your case.

In addition, there are various strict rules in many trial courts in the U.S. that need certain document format or special font for documents submitting. Non-compliance with these rules is a ground for refusal of your claim in a court.

As you can see, it is not so easy to handle a case without a criminal defense attorney. A competent trial lawyer should be familiar with all these nuances if you want to finish all legal battles as soon as possible and get your life back on track.

Handshake | How to find a criminal lawyer that can help you

Where can I find Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer near me?

If you are charged with a serious crime, you probably want a lawyer who will represent your interests without going to the concessions of the prosecution. You should be absolutely sure that the main goal of your criminal lawyer is to protect your interests in the best way, rather than, for example, finding new friends among prosecutors. Here are some general recommendations to make the right decision and find an expert criminal lawyer:

Make sure that it is a real lawyer

Nowadays, we have an army of fake lawyers trying to cash in on misfortune of others. When you are facing criminal charges, there is a big chance that you will trust anyone who wears the suit and talks legal language. Keep in mind that notaries, paralegals, and other jurists can’t offer legal advice if they do not have a lawyer’s license.

Find out who you’re really dealing with, at first. Under US law, only a licensed lawyer can advise and represent you in court in criminal cases. Look at the lawyer’s website or ask for his or her lawyer license number, or check it by his or her name on the Bar Association official website in the state you need. Then, check the status of this license on the website of the state bar that issued that license. And finally, try to find any information about your lawyer’s violations and penalties, if there were any.

Take a closer look at the attorney’s website

Pay attention to the lawyer's website. Outdated design or materials and broken links can say a lot about attorney's attitude towards work (the website is also part of the business). A competent criminal law attorney without a decent looking website can scare away potential clients.

Find out lawyer’s specialization, background and education

The law is a very vast field of knowledge and no one can fully explore all branches of it. It is better to contact lawyers who are members of specialized associations, so it is easier to understand what branches of law the lawyer is dealing with. Also, ask your criminal lawyer about cases he or she specializes in and how long they are practicing criminal law. More experience clearly means better chances in a trial.

Never arrange a consultation at home, in the street, in a cafe, and etc

Every criminal defense attorney must have her/his own office. It may be a small office in the suburbs, but still a lawyer’s office. So, you arrange a consultation at her/his office - pay attention to the attributes of the lawyer activity inside: diplomas, advertisements, brand identity (company’s name and logos), employees and so on. Sometimes, fake criminal defense lawyers rent so-called ‘day offices’ to meet with a client and get a retaining fee, but on the next day you will find no lawyer and no office and, certainly, no professional business there.

Criminal Law book and a gavel

How to hire a criminal defense lawyer

Now, you have some information about your local lawyers and, probably, some of them will suit you. The number of criminal defense lawyers that meet your needs will significantly decrease after using the tips above, that will make it easier for you to choose your criminal law attorney. Your next steps will include face-to-face conferences with lawyers, so be ready to discuss your legal problem many times with many people.

Do not trust a criminal lawyer who asks for money before signing the contract

Be suspicious of any attorney who promises to handle your legal problem before starting the case. Ask attorneys about similar cases they won and try to get a sample contract.

Find out the terms of payment

Almost all lawyers ask for a retainer fee after signing the contract. There are 3 main payment options for attorney’s services - hourly rates, flat fees and fees for every part of the case. Hourly rates are more affordable, but no one knows how long your case will take. Flat fees are more predictable, but be ready to pay an extra charge if your case will become unduly long. Moreover, there is a great difference between the legal fees for misdemeanor and felony cases. So, if you’ve been faced with firearm charges, for example, be ready to pay a great deal of money.

Don’t hurry and choose wisely

Remember that legal consulting doesn’t obligate you to hire a criminal defense lawyer right now. Try to schedule 3-4 consulting sessions before you decide to hire a criminal lawyer. You should feel comfortable speaking to him or her because you are going to work directly with this person during the whole process of trial.

Make a list of questions for the first legal advice

If you are facing criminal charges, you are probably feeling distressed, angry or confused. Everyone would feel the same in your place, and it's hard to keep up with so much legal information. Make a list of questions you should ask a lawyer. At first, ask her/him about payment and how well the lawyer is familiar with cases like yours. Aks about trial strategy, plea bargain and what information he or she need to start your case. Also, it never hurts to learn about the rest of a team that will handle your case.

To conclude, if you aren’t going to hire a criminal lawyer, you should understand that the consequences can be very serious. Do not rush and make a careful choice about your criminal law attorney. You must completely trust your lawyer. Only in this case, you can count on success.

Here, at the Law Office of John F. Rooney, V, you can find a trusted Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer. We are trial lawyers that handle lawsuits in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester counties. If you are still surfing the Internet searching for “the best Philadelphia criminal lawyers near me”, you can be sure that it is your last stop. Let’s start to fight for your rights together! Schedule your free consultation now 215-279-8400!

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