Things to Think About When Consulting with Potential Criminal-Defense Attorneys

In a criminal court case, you have a right to counsel whether or not you decide to hire an attorney out of pocket. But, when choosing to use a public defender, you don't have an opportunity to determine whether or not the lawyer who is appointed to you is a good fit for your needs. So it's important to consider hiring your own attorney to represent you in court. Here are a few things to think about when consulting with potential criminal-defense lawyers.

The Portfolio

One of the most important things to consider when consulting with potential criminal-defense lawyers is their portfolios. Not only should they have a solid track record of successfully representing their clients, but they should have a long client list to look through too. Just because a lawyer wins four out of five of their cases doesn't mean they have the experience to keep their good track record up.

A lawyer with hundreds of clients under their belt and a high percentage of wins is likely a better bet. You can't expect your lawyer to have been successful with all of their past cases, so don't settle for an attorney with a perfect track record yet limited experience. It's more important to find a lawyer to work that has years of experience and a proven track record.

The In-House Staff

It's also important to think about who will be working on your case as it progresses because the chances are that your lawyer will employ the help of their staff to get at least some tasks done. Find out who your lawyer works with, what kind of experience they have, and whether or not they have any legal licensing in the state in which they're working.

Will a legal secretary be doing needed research, or will an office assistant do it? Will any court reporters or paralegals be involved in your case? Exactly which tasks will be performed by staff, and which will your lawyer personally focus on? You should have a clear understanding of how your case will be handled, who will be handling it, and how much control you'll have over the process before leaving any consultations.

Paperwork Management

You can expect to have lots of paperwork to deal with as your case progresses, and you shouldn't have to manage it all on your own. Make sure that the criminal-defense lawyer is willing to fill out, copy, submit, and manage paperwork such as:

  • Police Report Analysis
  • Attendance Ledgers
  • Court Summons and Notices
  • Search Warrants
  • Bail Forms
  • Exhibit Lists
  • Witness Lists

Make sure that your attorney will provide you with a copy of each piece of paperwork they process for your records. You should also find out whether there will be an extra charge for paperwork management during your consultations to avoid future financial surprises.

Negotiation Experience

While this is not always possible, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to get you a lesser charge or to make a plea deal, and this can keep you out of jail and save you some serious money on fines. So it is helpful to find a lawyer who has extensive negotiating experience in criminal cases.

When asking about a lawyer's experience, delve deeper into basic stats and find out exactly what kinds of cases they have been successful with during a negotiation. Finding out which types of negotiation cases didn't go so well will provide you with important insight too, as you'll get an idea of whether or not any negotiations in your specific case have a chance of working.

Write these considerations down on a list with your personal questions and concerns to ensure that nothing important is overlooked at any of your consultations. 

Visit sites such as to find criminal-defense attorneys near you.