How To Choose An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
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.
If you are accused of a crime, your freedom, your family, your reputation, your immigration status, and your job may be at stake. The outcome you receive in the criminal justice system depends upon the experience and knowledge of the defense attorney you choose to represent you.
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.
Finding a Lawyer When You’re in Jail
The following tips are provided by nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia
It may be difficult to find and hire a competent lawyer while in jail. The atmosphere is usually psychologically oppressive, a defendant can’t comparison-shop, and the police and other defendants are notoriously poor judges of lawyers’ competence. Because jailed defendants usually have no money, they have to find family members or friends who will put up the money.
If an arrested suspect has previously been satisfactorily represented by a criminal defense lawyer, that is usually the lawyer whom the suspect should call. But how should other arrested suspects proceed? Probably the most fruitful approach is to get a referral from one or more of the following sources:
- Civil practitioners. Defendants who know an attorney in civil practice can ask that attorney to recommend a criminal defense lawyer. (Some civil practitioners, of course, are also competent to represent clients in criminal matters, at least for the limited purpose of arranging for release from jail following an arrest.)
- Family members or friends. These people may either know of a criminal defense lawyer or at least have the time to pursue additional reference sources, such as family clergy, doctors, or other professionals.
- Bail bond sellers. Bondsmen are usually in regular contact with private defense lawyers.
Finding a Lawyer When You’re Not in Custody
Like defendants who are in custody, defendants who are not in jail can seek referrals from civil lawyers, friends and relatives, and bail bond sellers. However, non-jailed defendants have additional options. The additional sources include:
- A local bar association’s lawyer referral panel. Attorneys are usually recommended according to their experience and the type and seriousness of a criminal charge.
- Nolo’s Lawyer Directory. We have a free and easy to use online directory of lawyers, organized by location and area of expertise. You can access Nolo’s Lawyer Directory at http://www.nolo.com/lawyers/.
- Criminaldefenselawyer.com. This website allows you to ask questions of local criminal defense attorneys in your area. You’re under no obligation to hire the lawyer with whom you correspond, and you may learn enough to decide to interview that lawyer.
- Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell publications identify lawyers according to their specialties in specific geographic areas, and even rate the lawyers for competency. Defendants can either try to find attorneys by looking in Martindale-Hubbell, or check references on attorneys who have been recommended to them. All law libraries have Martindale-Hubbell books; many general public libraries have them as well. Defendants who have access to the Internet will also find Martindale-Hubbell online.
- Courthouse visits. Defendants can visit a local courthouse and sit through a few criminal hearings. If a particular lawyer impresses a defendant, the defendant can ask for that lawyer’s card (after the hearing has concluded) and then call for an appointment.
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Many attorneys choose not to get involved in a criminal case until the defendant has been formally charged with a crime. Mr. Stine’s philosophy is the opposite. His experience has proven that there is no substitute for early intervention, which gives his clients a head-start on the prosecution. This gives the lawyer more time to:
- Conduct investigations
- Interview witnesses
- Research all legal options
The Office of the State Attorney in each Florida Judicial District employs “charging lawyers” whom determine the appropriate crime to charge. Lawyer Andrew Stine believes that it is imperative for the charging attorney to know who you really are and to show that you are much more than what the law enforcement agent or victim makes you out to be. That philosophy, along with Mr. Stine’s high level of trial preparation and creative defense strategies, has established an unprecedented track record of success for his clients.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.