For many people, being arrested is one of the most horrible ideas and experiences imaginable. The very idea of needing, for example, a sex crime attorney or a domestic violence lawyer is unthinkable. The reality is that many people, innocent and guilty, do need these services. Every year, approximately 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in the United States. More than 300 convictions have been overturned because of DNA evidence since 1989. About 3,944 years have been served in prison by innocent people around the country. Here are some things to look for in a criminal defense lawyer.
- Make sure your lawyer is passionate about what they do. You need to find a lawyer who will fight for you. If you need a sex crime attorney, you need someone who is going to go to the mat for you in a big kind of way. If they are just punching a clock and not really paying attention to you, you need to find another lawyer. This is too serious a situation to go with an attorney who does not really care about you or your case.
- Get a lawyer with experience with your kind of case. If you need a murder defense lawyer, you need a lawyer with a lot of experience with murder cases. If you need a sex crime attorney. The same thing holds. You do not want to take your murder case to someone who is primarily a sex crime attorney. There is a good reason for this. It may seen self evident but lawyers specialize the same way doctors do and there is a lot of variance in how cases are handled. Just make sure the attorney you hire has enough experience in the area of the law that you need help with.
- Listen to your gut. When you are talking to the lawyer, do you feel they are listening? Do they take the time to answer your questions? Do they listen to your concerns and address them? All of these things matter. Your attorney will have a harder time defending you if they do not take the time to listen to you and get to know you. If you do not feel like the lawyer is listening to you or cares about your concerns, you should really go to a different lawyer.
- Find out who will me working on your case. Law firms employ a bevy of legal professionals to handle their cases. There are legal assistants and paralegals and others who will be working on your case. Ask about who they are and if you can meet them. You need to be at least familiar with the people who are working on your case. They may be the ones who talk to you when you call.
- You want a confident lawyer but arrogance does not help you. If the sex crime attorney you talk to gives you a “100% guarantee,” you need to walk out the door and find a new lawyer. They should be confident in their ability to help you but not arrogant to the point of saying something like that. There are a lot of practical reasons that arrogance does not help you. More than 96% of criminal cases are settled with a plea. An arrogant lawyer may pass up what is a good deal because of it. Beware of arrogance.
- Ask for references. Law firms often have testimonials on their websites and that is well and good but nothing beats talking to former clients about their experience working with the sex crime attorney. Did they get the result they were looking for? Why was that?
- Make sure the sex crime attorney has experience in the courtroom. As was noted, the vast majority of cases are settled before a trial. So you know you need a defense lawyer with a lot of experience negotiating with the prosecutor’s office. There is always a chance that you are going to have to go to trial. If that is the case, you are going to want a defense attorney with a lot of experience in court. You never want to have to go but if you do, you want them to be comfortable in that setting.