Are you looking for tips on how to choose a criminal defense lawyer?
A criminal lawyer is one that specializes in defending you when you have been charged with a crime.
Unlike civil cases, if you cannot afford a criminal attorney, it is the obligation of the court to appoint one to you at no cost. However, you have little control over the court-appointed attorney you are provided.
Often, when someone is at risk for a criminal conviction going on their record, serving time in jail or prison, or facing other serious consequences associated with a crime, they want to be able to find a good criminal lawyer that they trust. So, many people who are charged prefer hiring their own criminal defense attorney.
Read on to find out how to choose a criminal defense lawyer who can get you the representation you deserve for your case!
How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer For Your Case
Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer who is right for you is crucial to avoid harsher-than-necessary sentencing.
If you are lucky, sometimes your attorney can see that charges are dropped or dismissed. They may also be able to have your charges reduced. Or, they can help to facilitate a favorable plea bargain on your behalf.
If your case goes to trial, you will need an attorney who is capable of offering an adequate defense.
In a criminal trial, depending on your charges, your case will either be heard by a judge or a jury, who will make a decision regarding your guilt or innocence. An experienced lawyer is often the best bet for representing you in a trial.
An experienced criminal lawyer is familiar with the process and possible outcomes for a wide range of criminal cases.
They tend to be more comfortable in the courtroom than others who have less experience. They can also ensure that your witnesses are called and any evidence refuting your involvement is entered into court. And, they know the right questions to ask to make sure critical details are heard and that your case is presented in the best possible light.
Understanding The Differences Between a Misdemeanor Versus a Felony
There are two different types of crimes that you can be charged with. A misdemeanor is the lesser of the two.
Misdemeanor crimes carry a sentence of one year or less. Often, you can avoid sentencing with these types of criminal charges, if you are willing to meet other requirements. Misdemeanors include traffic violations and petty crimes such as minor theft, harassment, and criminal mischief.
A felony is used to classify more serious crimes. Felony sentences carry terms lasting one year and a day or more. If you are convicted of a felony you will probably be sentenced to serve time in prison, unlike misdemeanor sentencing, which usually requires that you serve time in jail.
Prisons typically house felony offenders. Jails, on the other hand, house inmates who have been convicted on misdemeanor charges. They are also used to detain arrested parties until they go to trial or post bail.
What to Know if You Receive A Felony Charge
Because of the severity of a felony charge, the repercussions of a conviction may include consequences now and could impact your future as well.
It may be difficult for a felon to obtain employment or rent an apartment due to their criminal history. In many, if not most areas, felons cannot vote or carry firearms. They are also prevented access to certain government programs and benefits.
Some states may have a statute of limitations attached to one or more felonies. Other states, such as North Carolina, only apply a statute of limitations to civil lawsuits. A statute of limitations defines the time period in which charges must be filed in specific types of cases.
Felonies can have a negative impact on your reputation for years to come. Not only are there legal limitations for felons, but there is the possibility that you may face consequences in your personal and professional life as well.
Court records are public unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, with some effort, anyone can find out about your criminal court history. In rare situations, your attorney may be able to have your case sealed or otherwise protected from the public record.
If you have been charged with a felony the process is usually more complicated and may take much longer to be determined than a misdemeanor charge. Also, representation for a felony case may cost more money than other types of court cases.
But if you have been charged with a felony, a good attorney will be well worth the money. If you can afford to hire an attorney that specializes in cases like yours, or that comes with exceptional reviews or referrals, you should definitely do so. In the long-run, you will be glad that you did.
Tips for When You’ve Been Charged With a Crime
Here are some additional tips that can help you with your case:
- Exercise your right to ask for an attorney before talking to anyone about your case
- Choose a defense attorney that has a proven track record with similar cases
- Get referrals from friends or family, and look online to find the right representation for your case
- Be prepared when you meet your attorney with questions, relevant documents, possible evidence, and names of witnesses who might help your case
- Choose an attorney that you feel you can trust
- Ask your attorney for suggestions that might help the outcome of your case
- Follow recommendations that your attorney
Need an Attorney for Your Case?
If you aren’t sure how to choose a criminal defense lawyer that can give you the representation you need, we can help.
Our attorneys have worked with all types of cases, are experienced in the courtroom, and know the legal system.
We are confident that we can help you with your criminal case.
Contact us today to make an appointment!