Questions to Ask When Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida
Written by Moses & Rooth on September 8, 2015
When charged with a crime in Florida, consequences can be severe and hard to defend without a good criminal defense lawyer. Not all lawyers are alike, and it can be a daunting task just to find the right one for your case, especially when there are hundreds of lawyers to choose from, and time is not on your side.
However, do not just hire anyone. To ensure that you get the best representation for your case, you need to make sure that the lawyer is experienced with the particular crime that you are being charged for and is capable of providing you the best defense strategy. A good criminal defense lawyer will be able to explain your rights to you throughout the entire criminal process, and will be able to make sure that you understand your charges as well as possible defenses and plea bargains.
Asking lawyers the following questions will help you assess which one would be the right choice for you:
1) What law school did you graduate from?
Though their law schools do not always define lawyers’ abilities, it is good to know about the reputation of the school they attended.
2) How long have you been an attorney?
Knowing how long an attorney has been practicing the law will help you assess their experience level. Experienced attorneys have learned the tricks of the trade, and have established themselves in the legal community.
3) How long have you been practicing criminal law?
There are many experienced and well-established lawyers out there, but to get the best outcome for your case, you want one with particular knowledge and experience in criminal law.
4) How familiar are you with the particular charge against me?
You want a criminal defense attorney that is knowledgeable about your charges and the law associated with them.
5) How often or how many clients have you had with similar charges to mine?
Not only do you want an attorney that is familiar with your charges, you want one that is experienced with cases like yours.
6) How often do you appear in the courthouse where my case will be handled?
An attorney that appears in court fairly often will be acquainted with the prosecution, the judges and the court staff. A lawyer who is familiar with who he is up against can offer a better defense strategy.
7) How often do you negotiate plea agreements or ask for a lesser charge?
You want to make sure that your lawyer has negotiation skills. Lawyers who regularly negotiate plea agreements or lesser charges show their experience and ability to negotiate on your behalf.
8) What is your relationship like with the prosecutors and the judges that are likely dealing with my case?
This question is very important. You want an experienced lawyer that has a good reputation within the legal community, especially with judges and prosecutors. If your attorney is not well liked or respected by judges and prosecutors, you will be fighting an even more uphill battle from the start.
9) How many trials have you handled? How many have you succeeded in?
Knowing how many trials your lawyer has handled shows his or her experience. Knowing how many he or she has succeeded in shows his or her ability to win.
10) How much of my case will you actually handle? May I meet any associates that will be working on my case?
Be careful with attorneys who pass off cases to less experienced associates. Even if the firm has a great reputation, it would be more ideal to have the attorney that you specifically selected working on your case the whole way through. If you are comfortable with associates working on your case, ask to meet them so you can assess their credentials and capabilities.
11) What are your attorney’s fees? How do you calculate them? Do you offer payment plans?
Attorneys charge depending on their experience and track record among other factors. It is important for you to know how all the costs are broken down so that you know exactly what you are paying for and why. Some of the best attorneys charge more, but it is common for them to accept payment plans for clients who cannot pay the whole amount up front.
Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Moses & Rooth, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can offer an excellent defense no matter the charges against you. Our lawyers are competent and offer zealous advocacy that will ensure the protection of your rights. If you are in need of criminal defense, contact us today to see how we can fight for you.