How to Find a Criminal Lawyer in Your Defense

gavel on a criminal law book

Over 3% of the United States population is arrested every year. That's roughly 10 million people.

Despite that massive incarceration number, nobody ever thinks that they'll find themselves behind bars until they're actually sitting in cuffs and facing years of imprisonment.

If you're being charged with a serious crime, you need to find a criminal lawyer. Doing so could forever impact the trajectory of your life.

Not sure exactly how to find a good lawyer? This step by step guide can help.

Assess Your Needs

Any time that you're arrested, no matter the charges, you're going to be frightened. That fright leads most people to scramble for legal representation.

While legal representation isn't ever a bad idea, if you're looking at soft charges (shoplifting as a first offense for example) you may just want to consult with a lawyer as opposed to hiring one.

On the other hand, if you're being arrested on criminal charges that require mandated jail sentences if convicted, hire an attorney immediately.

Determine the Jurisdiction of Your Charge

The United States has a unique legal system in that it consists of multiple tiers. The two primary tiers of the system are state courts and federal courts.

Crimes that are being brought against you on the state level should lead you to hire any qualified criminal defense attorney that's licensed to practice in your state. Crimes that are being brought against you on the federal level will require unique expertise that calls for a federally educated attorney.

Federal charges are typically more serious than state charges. Attorneys that defend federal cases, consequently, tend to charge more.

Consider Your Financial Restraints

Before you start shopping for legal counsel, you'll need to consider your financial situation. Lawyers that work on criminal cases do not work on contingency like personal injury attorneys do. They require up-front compensation and the amount of compensation that they require can be substantial.

If you don't have the money to find a criminal lawyer in the private market, request a court-appointed attorney. A court-appointed attorney is provided free of charge and can substantially improve your odds of a favorable outcome.

Think About the Specialty That Your Case May Require

Very few criminal defense attorneys specialize in all areas of criminal defense. Those that claim to are probably overselling their expertise.

To give yourself the best odds of successfully fighting your case, understand the legal niche that your case falls under and hire an attorney that advertises specialization in that area.

For example, this law firm excels at defending DUI, weapon, solicitation and drug offenses.

Locate an Attorney That Meets Your Needs

With your groundwork laid, it's time to start seeking legal council. There are a few referral avenues that you can go down to find quality representation:

Word of Mouth

If you have a friend or family member that has gone through the find a criminal lawyer process and they have an attorney recommendation to you, consider their advice. Sometimes, word of mouth recommendations can result in discounted legal services because a lawyer has a relationship with somebody that you know.

Legal Directories

Every state has a directory of attorneys that have passed the bar and are licensed to practice. Looking through these directories can help you find qualified attorneys in your area.

There are also private legal directories online that recommend potential attorneys. A quick Google search will bring up several directories to search through. 

Review Aggregators

Well-established attorneys will have listings on Google and Yelp. On these listings, you can see reviews from past clients and can get an idea regarding the quality of an attorney's firm.

Ask For a Consultation

Hopefully, the search avenues that we've suggested have given you what you need to create a short-list of prospective candidates. With that shortlist in-hand, you or a loved one can engage each firm and ask for a consultation.

During a consultation, a law firm should be able to give you information regarding what they charge and what their assumed outcome is for your case. Don't be swayed by attorneys that promise you the moon and the stars. Your aim should always be to hire an attorney that is optimistic, yet grounded.

Select an Attorney That Fits the Bill

The last step of the find a criminal lawyer process is to think over your consultations and choose one of the attorneys that you met with. You'll be spending a lot of time with your attorney so make sure that you can afford them and that you feel good about the idea of working together.

Once hired, you and your attorney can start building a defense. From there you can seek plea deals or potentially take your case to court.

Find a Criminal Lawyer and Safeguard Your Future Today

When you find a criminal lawyer that's every bit as passionate about getting you a favorable outcome as you are, you're going to feel much better about navigating the difficult path that you're facing.

The only way to find a great lawyer is to get out there and start searching. So, start taking steps to engage legal professionals today. You've got nothing to lose by weighing prospects and everything to gain!

Life throws a lot of questions at you. Our team's aim is to meet those questions with outstanding answers.

Do you need more of your questions answered? If you do, check out additional how-to content on our blog!


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