Do you need to hire a criminal defense attorney?
There’s no denying that finding the right criminal defense lawyer can be anxiety-inducing. After all, your life could be on the line and it’s vital to find the best attorney to represent you.
Fortunately, the majority of defense attorneys will provide their potential clients with a low-cost initial consultation. During this consultation, you will ask a series of attorney interview questions. These questions will inquire both as to the legal process as well as their personal experience and expertise.
If you’re searching for a criminal defense lawyer, you’ve come to the right place. We’re uncovering the ten most essential questions to ask any potential criminal attorney.
1. What Are Your Rates?
First things first, it’s essential to discuss just how much this is going to cost you.
While an attorney may not be able to give you an exact number, they can at least outline their basic fees. From here, they can determine how many hours your case is likely to require. This should provide them with a general estimate as to how much you can expect their services to cost from beginning to end.
Remember, most attornies work hourly and so your fees are likely to be calculated on an hourly basis.
2. How Will I Be Billed?
From here, you’re going to want to touch on how often and when you’re going to be billed.
For example, are you expected to pay any upfront or routine fees? If so, how much can you expect for these fees to be? On the other hand, some attorneys will allow you to pay all necessary fees upon the conclusion of the case.
3. Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Don’t be fooled to think that the person you initially meet with is going to be exclusively handling your case.
Of course, it’s always possible that the initial attorney you meet with will be handling your case personally. However, this is certainly not always or often the case. Instead, this person may accept your case and then direct you to a member of their team.
Even if this is the case, it’s best to be aware of this fact from the start. Don’t hesitate to inquire about who and how many people will be working together on your case.
4. Have You Ever Defended a Case like Mine?
If your life is on the line, you’re going to want to rest assured that your attorney has experience in your area.
Don’t hesitate to ask every attorney that you meet with if they have defended a similar case before. If so, ask about the end result of that case and whether or not yours could achieve a similar fate. Knowing that your attorney has defended a similar case before is sure to bring peace of mind.
While experience specific to your situation isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s more than likely to benefit your experience.
5. When Was the Last Time You Were in Court?
Instead, a lawyer will attempt to solve their case before the eventual need to go to court. In fact, approximately 97 percent of cases end via plea bargain.
That being said, you’re going to want to inquire as to the last time this defense attorney presented in court. If your case does end up in court, you’re going to want to know that your attorney can handle such an opportunity.
6. How Long Have You Been in Criminal Defense?
You’re going to want this attorney to outline their experience in criminal defense. Don’t be shy in asking extensively of their background. As an example, be sure to ask the following questions:
- How long have you been a criminal defense attorney?
- How many cases have you handled similar to mine?
- What’s the most common area that you defend?
It’s imperative to the know answers to these questions and more. You want to rest assured that your chosen attorney has defended many cases similar to yours.
7. Do You Have Any Upcoming Time Off?
Short and simple, your case requires time and effort.
So, you’re going to want to ensure that your attorney isn’t taking off on vacation shortly after accepting your case. Be upfront in asking about their upcoming schedule and any time off.
8. Do You Have Any Hidden Fees?
There’s no denying that the fees associated with hiring a defense attorney can be complicated.
While there is often a flat fee, there are sometimes hidden fees that present themselves along the way. To help prevent any surprises down the road, have your attorney outline each and every potential cost that is associated with their representation.
9. How Will We Communicate?
Next, you’re going to want to touch on how often and how exactly you’ll be communicating with one another.
Will you be speaking on a daily basis or will you be meeting once weekly? Is the best way to get in touch with them through phone or email? Are there any fees associated in communicating with your attorney?
These are all important facts about how you and your attorney will be communicating.
10. What Do You Expect the Outcome to Be?
Last but not least, what does this attorney expect the outcome to be?
Of course, all cases are different and it’s impossible to predict the future. However, you can still inquire as to their expectations for the case. While this isn’t a guaranteed quote, it can help to ease your mind along the way.
If they expect for the case to be challenging and the outcome to be disappointing, you can cater your expectations to this assumption.
Attorney Interview Questions
There’s no denying that hiring a criminal defense lawyer can be incredibly stressful.
After all, there are over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States alone. When we consider such a large number, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in your choice. This is especially true when your life could be on the line and you need the best of the best to represent you.
The key to finding the right attorney for you is to prepare a detailed list of attorney interview questions. Fortunately, we’ve done the work for you and have compiled a list of ten questions to ask your attorney before hiring them. If you’re in the early process of hiring an attorney, allow these questions to guide your interview.
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