Choosing the best criminal lawyer is a vitally important step for anyone accused of a crime. A good criminal lawyer will be able to establish a framework for the defense and work to explain his or her client's questions with care and professionalism, regardless of the circumstances. While even the best criminal lawyer cannot guarantee a positive outcome, working with a truly competent attorney can make the trial process less frightening and easier to understand.
Most criminal lawyers have a specialized area of practice; finding lawyers in the area with experience in a particular type of case can be done through a simple Internet search. Often, the best criminal lawyer will be one who has handled many similar cases, since he or she is in a position to better explain the general process and possible outcomes. It may help to check review websites to get an idea of the professional reputation of a lawyer under consideration; since most law firms will only post positive reviews on their personal websites, it may be unwise to rely on their posted accolades as sole source of information.
When the field is narrowed down by geography and reviews, it may be possible to obtain a free or low-cost consultation with each potential lawyer. These meetings typically carry no obligations and allow the client and attorney a chance to meet and see how they work together. The best criminal lawyer for a client will usually be a person who treats all prospective clients with respect and dignity. Things to consider during in a consultation interview may include whether the attorney is paying attention to the small details of the case, if he or she is polite, and whether he or she seems to understand the situation quickly.
Choosing the best criminal lawyer will inevitably involve questions about payment and money. It may be very important to ask for specifics about hourly fees, retainers, payment plans, and contractual fees for things like postage and filing paperwork. Most reputable lawyers will be honest about the cost, since it is in their best interest to take on clients who will be able to pay them. An attorney who refuses to disclose rates or has a documented history of disputed bills with clients may not be the best criminal lawyer for a case.
Though the best criminal lawyer cannot guarantee an outcome, he or she can at least show dedicated effort to the client and the case. If a lawyer starts dodging phone calls, refuses to answer questions or explain things about the case, or asks a client to engage in any type of illegal activity, it is a very bad sign. If a lawyer truly starts showing signs of disrespect, disinterest, or incompetence, it may be worth the trouble to search for new representation.