Choosing a criminal lawyer is not something you should do on a whim. When you are facing serious charges and the potential jail time, it is essential to find someone with excellent training and a high level of skill. As you begin the process of looking for one, here are the factors you need to keep in mind.
First, as you begin your search, look for an attorney who practices in the area where you were charged, even if that is not necessarily the area where you live. You can begin with a simple online search for a criminal lawyer and the appropriate location. Usually the top three or four firms that show up in the search results are experienced, professional firms.
However, do not assume that an attorney is right for you simply because he or she gets the top spot in Google. Instead, use that as a starting point, and scour the website to see what the individual's credentials are. Make sure they fit the crime you have been charged with. For instance, if a particular attorney is highly skilled in DUI cases, but you are charged with battery, you need to find a different attorney.
Once you have found one who sees to be a good fit, search online for the attorney's name. Find out if there are any complaints or good reviews for the attorney. Seeing what others who have worked with the individual have to say can help you make a more informed decision.
When you are close to making your decision, call the firms on your list and ask if they provide a free consultation. Then, ask what you will be speaking with at the consultation. Choose a firm that will allow you to speak to the attorney at your consultation. Remember, if you choose to use them as your criminal lawyer, they stand to make a significant amount of money, so they should offer you this free "interview."
When you talk to the attorney, find out what types of published articles or other documents they have. Highly published attorneys are highly skilled in their areas of expertise. Similarly, if they work as a commentator or legal analyst for something like a radio station or TV news network, you can feel confident that they know their stuff. Finally, learn how many acquittals they have gotten for their clients. Attorneys who fight hard for their clients get acquittals, so this is the sign of a good one.
Finally, go with your gut. You need to feel, without a doubt, that you can trust your criminal lawyer. They will be the one you explain all the details of your case to, and they will be the one instructing you on how to proceed. If you feel confident and at ease with the attorney, that will go far in helping you win your case. If you feel uncomfortable with the attorney, you are going to struggle through the process. So, if everything else lines up and points to the attorney as highly skilled and knowledgeable in the area of law you need, trust your instincts as you make the final choice.