How to Choose a Private Defense Attorney

How to Choose a Private Defense Attorney

If you’re being charged with a crime in which you face jail time, you may be wondering if you need an attorney. You may not even know where to start to find an attorney. Not only are you anxious over your future, you may be wondering if you can even afford a lawyer. The bigger question you might want to ask is whether you can afford to go before the judge without an advocate who understands the process and the law. Here are some things to consider when deciding to hire a private defense lawyer.

Should You Get an Attorney or Represent Yourself? 

With a criminal case, you have the right to an attorney. In some cases, the government may provide you with a court-appointed attorney, but you do have to qualify for one based on the guidelines of your state. 

If you don’t have access to a public defender, then you have to decide whether to hire a lawyer or to represent yourself, AKA pro se. You should consider:

  • How serious is your crime? The more serious the crime, the more you should have a lawyer defending your rights and helping you find the best possible outcome.
  • What is your education? The law is complex. Lawyers spend years studying the law to have the knowledge to represent people.
  • Should you risk your future on yourself? If you’re facing prison, fines or other consequences that have long-term effects, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

How to Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer

To find a lawyer to represent you, you want someone with experience with the crimes you are being charged with. Drug charges are much different than white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement. You should ask questions about the attorney’s experience during your first consultation.

It can be a good idea to look for a local lawyer who knows the judges and prosecutors. Having local experience can help you understand how a particular prosecutor or judge may approach your offense. Local attorneys also have experience with local experts who can help you prove your case and with the police officers who may be providing evidence against you.

Bottom line, your lawyer needs to be someone you can trust. Regardless of education and reputation, your lawyer cannot fully represent you if you aren’t able to be truthful with him or her. You need to be able to build a relationship with your lawyer.
Make an appointment with a criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco, CA today, such as the ones available at the Morales Law Firm to discuss your situation.