This is often a question we hear a lot. Many people hesitate to hire a criminal lawyer, when accused of a crime, because they think they can handle it themselves, or, they are looking at only short-term costs, and don’t think they can afford a lawyer.
Many times, we get approached by individuals, who only contact us AFTER it seems like it’s too late, or after they already took a plea deal, and are now having “second thoughts.” It’s troublesome, and heart breaking, when we tell them their options are now limited.
Some people are under the assumption they can file for a mistrial, because they weren’t happy with their previous criminal defense lawyer. Unfortunately this isn’t true – unless the lawyer did not adequately fulfill his/her duties.
If you take a plea deal, even if you hire a criminal defense lawyer, it may be difficult for him/her to help you later.
It’s always best to hire a criminal lawyer, right at the beginning.
When looking to hire a criminal lawyer, look at a few variables.
1. Look for prior case results – This is extremely important! If the lawyer you are about to hire has no track record of success, handling cases similar to yours, then hiring him/her is a terrible idea. Any lawyer you hire should be competent, but above all, be able to show proof he has handled cases like yours in the past. If she/he, cannot, then it’s unlikely they’ll be able to help you with your case.
2. Look at places like Avvo – Avvo is a great place, where numerous factors, such as experience, reputation, and reviews, are calculated together into a “score” – the score can be something like 6.9, or in the case of truly phenomenal lawyers, 10.0 – it’s a really good representation of whose a good, or bad, lawyer.
Generally speaking, better criminal defense lawyers will have a higher score.
3. Speak to past clients – Being told about the outcome of prior clients is one thing, but speaking to them is the best thing possible. WE strongly recommend you speak to any “case studies,” in order to verify the facts. If you were to contact us, we’d get you in touch with a client who can explain his/her situation, and verify the statements we were making
About The Author
Steve Goldman is the founder of Goldman & Associates, the premier Chicago Criminal Defense Law Firm, with over 30 years of experience practicing criminal defense law.