Being charged with a crime is no joke. That’s why it requires a no nonsense approach to finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you or your loved one. Whether it’s a drug charge, theft, assault, DUI or other charges, finding the right lawyer is essential to the future of your case — and your future prospects, as well.
So where do you start?
Here are the most important questions you should have prepared when speaking with a potential criminal defense attorney.
Do you primarily work locally?
A major difference between criminal and civil attorneys is their clients’ geographic distance from their offices. Civil attorneys often work as part of large law firms that may have several locations and offices. They often provide advice and input to larger companies, as well, making their reach much further than an average criminal defense attorney. In civil litigation, a case could take a lawyer from Florida as far as California. Criminal defense lawyers are very much, or should be very much, tied to their local community.
Criminal defense lawyers typically work in small office groups or individually. Their work is usually tied to the city or community or region in which they work.
Why does it matter that they primarily work local to the location of you and your alleged crime?
Laws can change from municipality to municipality — or state to state.
What’s more, procedures and practices at varying courthouses at the local and state level may differ. Working with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of your community will be essential to your defense.
A locally embedded attorney will also likely know the police officers, district attorneys and judges involved, as well. That familiarity can help in many ways.
Have you worked on cases such as mine before?
If you’ve been charged with theft, you’ll want to be sure you find a criminal defense attorney who has defended other clients in the past who’ve been charged with the same offense.
Criminal law can be very complex from community to community, state to state. Many times, criminal defense attorneys will specialize their practice around one or a couple of offenses. Some may only work on DUI cases, another may only work on white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement or fraud.
If the potential attorney cannot speak to specific experience with whatever charge you are facing, you should consider looking elsewhere. You want to be sure you have someone well versed in the law and who has real experience working on such a case.
Are you a specialist in this type of case?
In some jurisdictions, private defense attorneys can seek expert certifications in certain areas of practice.
For example, some states certify attorneys as experts in DUI cases. It’s wise to find someone who not only has experience working on cases such as yours, but who also has a deep knowledge and understanding of the issues at play. A board certification stating that expertise is a great signifier, and one that an attorney should not be shy about if you ask.
And beyond these questions, you’ll always want to check in with your gut to see if you feel the attorney you’re speaking with genuinely cares about you and your case.
If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in the Houston area who has several criminal defense specific certifications and years of experience, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.