Irrespective of the gravity of the case, if a person faces a criminal charge, availing the help of a competent criminal defense lawyer will be the right decision one can make. The best part of hiring the service of the lawyer by a criminal defendant is to get a clear picture of the charges filed and the available defenses, in addition to knowing about the possibilities of plea bargains, and what could be the verdict in the event of conviction.
If the charges are serious, the service of a criminal defense lawyer is a necessity to get assistance during plea bargain negotiation, or prepare a trial case.
The Cost Of Defense Lawyer
The cost of services of a criminal law representation lawyer depends on the jurisdiction and the nature of charges filed against the defendant. For the lawyer, there is a need of a greater retainer for a complex case in comparison to a simpler case. The severity of the charges as filed against a defendant determines the amount of a retainer. If it is a case of misdemeanor, the typical fee differs between cities, counties and states. The amount charged increases for felony, life felonies like sexual assault or homicide. The cost of expert witness considerably increases the cost of a retainer.
Selecting a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Finding a good criminal defense lawyer is not an easy affair. Some suggestions that can come to good use are:
It comes to great use if one has connections with a law firm or a lawyer, who can help find a competent criminal defense lawyer in your required area.
Sitting through a public session as a criminal case is fought in a court will help you come to know the lawyer with an impressive performance. Later, you can contact the lawyer about his or her interest to represent you.
There are organizations of criminal defense lawyers in every state as well as major cities. Many of these organizations provider referral services or has online directories that can come handy to find a defense lawyer in your area.
One can go through online directories that provide list of criminal defense lawyers as well as property division lawyer and are a good source to find your choice of lawyer.
State versus Federal Charges
There are certain other factors to consider while looking to hire a federal criminal defense attorney. Once you make a list of one or more attorneys, call them individually and speak with them before you schedule an appointment. Ask the general experience the lawyer has with criminal defense and his or her experience with cases similar to yours.
Follow your Instincts
It needs mentioning here that simply consulting with a lawyer does not make you obliged to hire his or her service. If you are promised by the lawyer that there are no chances of you going to jail, discuss with other lawyers before signing a retainer agreement. It is important to go through the entire agreement with the lawyer and only then sign it and also get a copy of it for yourself.
Appointed Counsel or Private Defense Counsel to go for?
If the charges are for felony offenses, and also for misdemeanors, the defendant could become eligible for appointed counsel or assistance coming through the office of a public defender. The trial judge, on receiving a petition from the defendant for a court-appointed lawyer, will assess the resources of the defendant and determine the eligibility for a criminal defense lawyer. When appointed, the defendant may have to repay certain attorney fees if there is a guilty plea or some kind of conviction, and if acquitted or dismissed of charges, there will be no fee charged.
It is your constitutional right to get effective assistance of your chosen lawyer and that depends on the appointed counsel’s performance. Hence, if you find the performance of your chosen lawyer not satisfactory, consult with a second lawyer and get him or her to review your situation. In spite of having competence, your lawyer may not be skilled enough, leading you to go to prison.
Author: Alice Aires is a freelance writer on law related matters. She has years of experience in criminal law and property division law.