How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney

justice statue in a law office

When you’ve been accused of a crime, you know having a strong legal defense backing you will be critically important. But how do you choose a criminal defense attorney to represent you? We’ve compiled a list of six tips to help you select the best criminal defense attorney for your case.

#1 Look for responsiveness and efficiency.

When it comes to criminal charges, you need an attorney who will be quick to act and respond to your calls. When you waste time trying to communicate with your criminal defense attorney, you are hurting your chance at a clean slate or a lesser charge.

If you can find a criminal defense attorney who is quick to set up meetings, then you know they’ll be the ones to come to your defense quickly, too.

#2 Choose an attorney with proven experience.

Not only will you be looking for a firm that has experience in criminal defense, but you’ll also want to make sure they have a track record of success–especially in the jurisdiction you’re being tried in.

Ask what courts they have experience in as these local connections may make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Knowing how the judge works the courtroom can be important. Even knowing that specific court process just makes the process smoother for you.

#3 Do your research.

You know what you need in a criminal defense attorney, now you just need to find him or her. Starting with your state bar association is a great resource. The Pennsylvania Bar Association offers a service that is incredibly simple and will match you with the attorney who is right for your case. Simply:

  • Fill out the online form, or call 800-692-7375 during normal business hours.
  • Receive a referral.
  • Contact the attorney.

In addition to the state bar association, you can also ask family and friends for referrals, or connect with attorneys you may have used in the past. The legal community is often interconnected, which is why asking an attorney you are comfortable with may be a beneficial place to find referrals.

Also check social media networks, review websites, and don’t be afraid to call and ask questions.

#4 Ask questions at the meeting.

Once you’ve found a firm, or maybe a few, that you want to meet with to see who will work best for you, make sure you come prepared with any questions you may have. An experienced attorney will be able to answer the basics for you–but probably not the outcome you can expect from a trial.

But if your attorney is scrambling for information to address your concerns, they may not be the firm for you.

#5 Make sure they are giving you the time needed.

If you have a complicated case–as many criminal defense trials can be–you need to make sure your chosen attorney is not stretched too thin. If in that first meeting you feel that the firm will not be able to give you the attention your case needs to be successful, you may want to continue your search elsewhere.

You can ask who will be your point of contact, how often you’ll receive updates, and if you’ll be with the same attorney from start to finish. If you aren’t happy with their answers, keep looking for a firm that fits your needs.

#6 Confidence is key.

Obviously, your attorney cannot guarantee a specific outcome. However, if their confidence level is not high or they simply have a track record of being meek in the courtroom, you’ll definitely want to continue your search.

However, if your meeting with the attorney goes well and they present themselves confidently and as an expert of the law, you have likely found someone who will do the same in the courtroom.

Being charged with a criminal offense can be stressful, especially if you do not have the right attorney standing by your side. With the criminal defense attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, you’ll have no need to worry. We understand the concern you and your family are feeling at this time, but our lawyers have spent decades fighting for clients throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and surrounding counties and we’re ready to fight for you. Contact us for more information.

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