How To Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney To Represent You
Our criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. The incarceration rate in the United States is much higher than that of other industrialized countries. Prison sentences are getting longer and more frequent. If you face the possibility of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as early in the process as possible, preferably even before questioning or investigation by the police. A skilled attorney can fight for your legal and constitutional rights.
Our criminal justice system is complex, both conceptually and procedurally. To ensure the fairness of the proceedings, each court system has its own rules of criminal procedure that govern the actions of all players: police, defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and juries.
The US Constitution requires that criminal defendants be accorded due process of law in all proceedings against them. Broadly, this means that throughout the criminal justice process the rules of criminal procedure must be observed with all constitutional protections in place. Due process requires such things as reasonable notice of proceedings and fair hearings when a person is facing substantial negative consequences, such as incarceration.
Stages of a Criminal Case
- Arrest and Bail
- Preliminary Hearing
- Plea Bargaining
- Trial and Sentencing
For the brief description of each stage, please see Criminal Defense Overview from the law office of Andrew D Stine.
To better protect yourself throughout your involvement with the criminal justice system, consult with an informed, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can work hard on your behalf to see that protections afforded criminal defendants are preserved for you.
If you are charged with a crime, you may be facing serious consequences such as hefty fines, jail time, probation, a tainted record, and more. Not having an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side can cost you a lot more than just money.
Since 1992, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Although some defendants think that they can “beat the system” on their own, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic.
The tips below with help you make an informed decision in finding an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, your friend or your loved one.
- Get a criminal defense attorney who concentrates his practice in the area of defense that you need. Many criminal defense attorneys not only handle routine criminal defense cases but some concentrate in a particular area of defense.
- Determine what kind of qualities are important to you. Do you want someone young and who is willing to make up for a lack of experience through hard work, or someone with well-established credentials?
- Get referrals from your immediate network of friends/relatives.
- Find out what legal organizations the lawyer belongs to. At the very least, he should belong to the County and State Bar Associations. If he belongs to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), his State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, or to the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, that is a good indication he has more than a passing interest in criminal defense.
- Don’t be fooled by advertising slogans, such as “former deputy district attorney” or “aggressive trial lawyer.” Meet the lawyer and decide if you have confidence in his or her skills and feel comfortable with their analysis of your case.
- Ask who will work on your case if you hire this attorney, and what their experience level is. Ask what rates they bill at. What percentage of work will these other people be doing, and what percentage of time will your attorney be dedicating to your case? Now is also a good time to find out what would happen to your case if your attorney became ill or unexpectedly became unavailable.
- Discuss the facts of your case. At this point, attorneys should be able to discuss how he will proceed and what he will do. You should discuss law office communications and what ancillary services he thinks you will need (e.g. psychotherapy, private investigation, etc).
Important Considerations When Choosing Your Defense Attorney
Publications – If attorneys publish articles, books, or treatises (legal reference guides), they are already subjected to the toughest critics of all (other attorneys) and they are often regarded as experts in that subject matter.
Acquittals – If attorneys win outright acquittals on very serious criminal charges, they prepare well, fight hard, play fair in the court’s eyes and win juries over with their arguments. An outright acquittal is a not guilty verdict (the closest response from a court to a statement of innocence).
Leadership – Legal organizations are rather particular about the attorneys they choose to be their leaders. In legal organizations where the leader is voted into office, the members are acknowledging that the officer is highly regarded by the legal community.
Bar referrals – Often times, state bars provide an excellent reference source when a person is looking for an attorney. If the attorney has been disciplined, records of the past action are often available on the bar’s website. However, as a referral source, they are limited to providing the name of the next-in-line firm or attorney and usually prohibited from making any recommendation beyond that information.
Criminal Law Commentators & Legal Analysts – Major television networks and local TV and radio stations often invite subject matter experts to comment on various public questions about the law. Attorneys commenting to the nation or state on behalf of a network TV station are regarded as experts in their industry. Source
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
West Palm Beach lawyer Andrew Stine focuses exclusively on criminal defense cases and has an exceptional track record of results spanning the last ten years. A former public defender and medic for the U.S. Army, Mr. Stine is known for being proactive. He represents his clients aggressively, armed with individual attention and a passionate respect for their rights to due process.
When you are accused of a crime, your freedom, your family, your reputation and your job may be at stake. Be certain of your attorney’s competence, reputation, expertise and experience as a Criminal Defense Lawyer.
The criminal defense law firm of Andrew Stine, P.A. combines the nationally recognized criminal defense practice of trial and appellate attorney Andrew Stine, creating an international practice encompassing the defense of individuals and corporations facing serious criminal charges in Florida, across the United States and around the world. When you retain our law firm, you don’t simply retain a criminal defense attorney – you retain an experienced criminal defense law team. Andrew Stine and his team have worked together for years, successfully representing clients in virtually every type of criminal case. We represent individuals and organizations vigorously, with individual attention and a passionate respect for due process, through each stage and every aspect of your case.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.