5 Things to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorney
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An estimated 1,232,428 violent crimes occurred across the United States in 2022. While this was down from 1,253,716 the year prior, the odds are good that you know someone impacted by violence or you’re aware of violent crimes in your neighborhood, city, or state.

Few things are as stressful as facing criminal offense charges – especially when a guilty verdict can subject you to fines, incarceration, and reputational harm. So, if facing charges, you’ll want the right lawyer to help fight the charges and ensure fair treatment.

As of 2024, there were north of 252,159 criminal defense lawyers in the country. But that doesn’t mean that one legal professional is necessarily as good as another. If you’re staring down the proverbial barrel of a gun and want the best odds of a good outcome, you need the right lawyer. The good news is there are some things you can do to find the help you need.

Here are five things to seek in a criminal defense attorney worth hiring to fight your charges!

1. Look for Criminal Defense Lawyers

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When you need help fighting criminal charges, a criminal defense lawyer can help. But don’t hire a lawyer who dabbles in many areas of the law. You don’t want a jack of all trades.

For the best results, find a lawyer who represents clients charged with criminal offenses. A criminal defense attorney representing clients in court and at the bargaining table can more effectively fight for your rights than a lawyer with a more general focus.

2. Look at Their Track Record

In addition to focusing on lawyers specializing in criminal law, ensure you verify their track record. A lot is hanging in the balance when facing criminal law charges. So, you’ll want to retain the services of a legal professional with a track record of success. A lawyer who has been in business for many years and has a solid track record will likely offer what you want.

Look at criminal law firm websites for an overview of the types of cases different law practices have taken on and the outcomes. While no criminal defense attorney can guarantee the outcome of your case, the right legal professional can increase the odds of good results. So, give yourself the best chances of beating the charges, getting vindication, going free, and moving on with life.

Another benefit of selecting a reputable criminal law attorney is that they’ll be able to give you a rundown of options, possible outcomes, and the viability of different strategies. You’ll have the information and recommendations you need to make intelligent decisions.

3. Look at Reputation

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Ask people in your circle of influence to recommend criminal law attornies they may have dealt with. Consider family members, friends, co-workers, fellow club members, or anyone you know and trust.

You can ask what lawyer they hired, their overall impression of the legal professional, and if they would recommend them. The feedback you get will make it easier to find suitable candidates for a criminal defense attorney.

What options are available if you don’t know anyone who has hired a criminal defense lawyer before? You can do the next best thing ─ comb over online reviews from people near you.

Finding third-party websites where consumers can post reviews about service providers in your area makes sense. While making decisions solely based on online reviews isn’t advisable, that doesn’t mean these resources can’t provide helpful information.

You can learn about criminal defense lawyers you hadn’t heard about, see the strengths and drawbacks of different lawyers, and get the lowdown on the most in-demand legal professionals in your region.

4. Consider Communication Style

When seeking the right criminal defense lawyer, find someone with a communication style that resonates with you. That will require you to set up initial in-person consultations once you find a handful of lawyers who appear to be a good fit. Many lawyers will grant free initial consultations, so take advantage of such opportunities.

Ask the lawyers how they would handle your situation and about similar cases they’ve taken on. Pay careful attention to the answers. You’ll want to consider whether the lawyers can break down legalese and explain things in terms you can understand.  Remember that you and your lawyer may be working together for quite a while, depending on the specifics of your case. It’ll seem like an eternity if the lawyer can’t communicate effectively enough for you to understand.

Think twice before hiring someone whose communication style makes it difficult to understand what they’re saying. With so much at stake, you need the right answers to make the right choices. You won’t want anything to be lost in translation. So, don’t skip in-person consultations where you can find out for yourself whether the lawyers you’re considering are a proper fit.

5. Conduct Some Research

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You can get a lot of helpful information by conducting online research. When looking for criminal defense practices in your neck of the woods, check out online legal resources to find lawyers serving clients in your city or state. Various online directories can put you in touch with criminal defense lawyers licensed to practice in your region.

It might be worth your while to do more digging. Search regional publications to see what you can learn about any lawyer or law firm you’re considering. You might find that there is one option or a handful of options that align with your worldview or way of thinking.

When facing criminal charges that threaten to land you in prison and throw your whole life out of whack, finding a criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the legal process is paramount. Choosing the first name you come across in an online directory won’t cut it. Dig deeper to find the best option for your unique situation. The right legal professional will build a solid case, answer your questions, and ensure you know what to expect going forward.