After an arrest finding a top criminal defense lawyer can be difficult. There are several types of lawyers with a variety of backgrounds and you will want to make sure you are hiring the right attorney for your case. Having a top criminal defense attorney will make all the difference in your case. A poor criminal defense attorney could cost you time, money and even your freedom.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney consider the following tips:
Experience matters . The top criminal defense attorneys have years of experience either in New York State Courts and/or Federal Court. The best criminal defense attorney knows the law. They are aware of changes in the law and they can provide you with advice beyond the criminal charge and answer questions about how your life will be effected by the arrest and or conviction. Some of the best criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors and have that unique experience of prosecuting a case they now set out to defend.
Experience should not be measured in years alone but also includes trial experience, negotiating experience and experience doing legal research or motions.
Beware of aggressive attorney marketing . The marketing strategies of a criminal defense attorney can tell you a lot about the attorney and how they will handle your case. Beware of any attorney who tells you or claims the following:
"I will 'cash in my chips' with the judge or prosecutor for you"
"I can speak with the Judge privately about your case"
"If you pay me more I know I can get you a better deal"
"I guarantee you a great result"
"The judge owes me one"
"The other lawyers in town don't know what they are doing"
"Don't worry about my billing, I'll take care of you"
"You only pay me if I win your case"
These are empty promises that never deliver results. In fact many comments or actions such as these violate State ethical rules.
Attorney Billing . A criminal defense attorney must be up front with you about their legal fees. In New York State any retainer over $3,000.00 must be in writing. Attorney's usually bill either by the hour with a retainer on deposit or by a flat rate. What an attorney charges varies from each attorney or firm depending on several factors. As a general rule in the industry the more serious the charges or complex the case will result in a higher fee.
Your criminal defense attorney must care about you and your case . This may seem obvious but your attorney should know your case is one of, if not the most, important things in your life at the moment causing you incredible stress. Your attorney should always do the following:
Answer all your questions
Make sure you and the attorney properly understands your case
Be enthusiastic about working on your case
Return your telephone calls
Respond to your e-mails or letters
Respect your confidentially
Provide you with an honest assessment and case evaluation
Provide you with options regarding how to proceed
Allow you to make the final decision about how your case resolves
Ask family or friends for assistance in hiring a lawyer . Many times family or friends know of a lawyer to help you with your case. Family or friends can also meet with your lawyer during a consultation and offer their opinion about the attorney. Do your research about the lawyer on the internet. The New York State Unified Court System website provides information about all lawyer's credentials and standing with the New York State Bar. Take all of that information as a whole to help you make an informed decision.
Free Consultation . This is one of the best methods to find a top criminal defense lawyer and it doesn't cost anything. This is your opportunity to ask the lawyer questions, meet the attorney and get a feeling if this is the right attorney to work on your case.
Trust your instincts . After all of your research and consultations trust your instincts about hiring a lawyer. Your "gut feeling" will let you know if the lawyer you have spoken to is the right lawyer for you and your case.
If you have been charged with a crime in Westchester County, any of the surrounding counties or in Federal Court, it is important to consult with a top criminal defense lawyer. At Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP our attorneys have decades of experience defending thousands of individuals charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony cases. Everything from murder to traffic tickets. We do provide a free consultation and would like to learn more about your case and if we can provide you with an aggressive criminal defense. Contact us today.