Many people will never need to hire an attorney to represent them in court. However, when you need a lawyer, you ought to want the best lawyer you can hire, especially if you are facing criminal charges. Hiring a good criminal defense attorney could mean the difference between a guilty verdict and a “not guilty” verdict.
However, how do you know whether a criminal defense attorney is good or bad? You can begin your search by reviewing the lawyer’s reputation. What do other attorneys say about the defense lawyer? What do clients say in reviews posted online? Does the attorney have an excellent rating with peer-review websites?
A good attorney is respected within the legal community. If you ask someone about a specific attorney and they appear uncomfortable when responding to your question, it could be a sign that the attorney is lacking in the positive qualities of a good defense attorney.
Finding a Good Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer could be the most important step you take in protecting yourself. Unfortunately, most individuals lack the legal knowledge and experience to investigate the charges against them, gather evidence, and determine whether their civil rights were violated.
Furthermore, you have the right to counsel when facing criminal charges. A prosecutor represents the state. The prosecutor has substantial resources to investigate and prosecute your case. You need someone on your side to even that playing field. Otherwise, it is an unfair fight that puts you at a disadvantage.
Choosing a good defense lawyer is essential whether you are innocent or guilty of the charges against you. To avoid hiring a bad defense attorney, let’s look at what qualities raise red flags.
Signs That You Hired a Bad Criminal Defense Attorney
Knowing the signs of a bad criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid hiring one. Below are signs that indicate an attorney may not be the best attorney to handle your case.
Not all lawyers dress in suits and ties or speak in terms that only other lawyers can understand. However, a good attorney always acts professionally, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Professional conduct indicates that the attorney takes your situation seriously.
Signs of unprofessional behavior include:
- Unprofessional appearance
- Always late for appointments and hearings
- Discusses other clients with you
- Tells inappropriate stories or jokes
- Sharing extremely personal stories or information
- Refuses to discuss billing practices
Lawyers who act unprofessionally may not be taken seriously in court, which could hurt your chance of beating the criminal charges.
Telling you that they can guarantee specific results or will absolutely win your case, it is a red flag that the person may be a bad criminal defense attorney.
Good criminal defense lawyers explain all potential outcomes and only promise to do their best to achieve the best possible outcome for your criminal case. They give you realistic legal opinions and clarify that they cannot guarantee a specific outcome.
Lack of Experience
Every lawyer gains experience as they represent clients. While a lack of experience may not be a sign of a bad attorney, it is a sign that the attorney may not be the best choice for you.
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case. Attorneys who have practiced law for at least several years are familiar with the local courts, judges, and prosecutors. In addition, the attorney knows how similar cases are handled.
Search for an attorney who has experience in the specific area of law that matches your charges. For instance, if you are charged with domestic violence, you do not want to hire a lawyer who only handles drug cases. Likewise, if your case involves sex crimes, search for an attorney with extensive experience representing clients charged with sex crimes.
Poor or Ineffective Communication
Communication is crucial for developing a strong criminal defense strategy. If your attorney does not seem interested in what you have to say, does not return your calls, and does not update you about your case, it is a sign of a bad defense lawyer.
Attorneys may have busy schedules. As a result, your lawyer may not always be able to take phone calls, but you should be able to expect a prompt response to reasonable requests. Good criminal defense attorneys maintain an open line of communication with their clients.
Lack of Legal Knowledge
If a lawyer cannot explain the law that applies to your case and your legal rights, it is a sign of a bad criminal defense attorney.
A good defense lawyer understands the criminal code, including the legal requirements the prosecution must meet to obtain a conviction. Furthermore, a good attorney can explain your civil rights and how they can use violations of your civil rights as part of a defense strategy.
You Only Receive One Option to Resolve Your Case
Good attorneys provide several options to their clients. They discuss the pros and cons of each option and may offer their opinion about which option they believe is in the client’s best interest. Good defense attorneys may suggest options including negotiating a plea deal, filing motions to dismiss the charges, or taking the case to trial.
A bad defense attorney generally suggests the client plead guilty to the charges or accept a plea agreement. The reason for the single option – a bad defense attorney does not want to do the work required to get the criminal charges dismissed or reduced. Therefore, it is easier to have you plead guilty.
Lack of Support Staff and Resources
Good criminal defense attorneys have strong support teams. A criminal case involving a minor misdemeanor charge might not require a prominent criminal defense team to handle.
However, if your case involves complicated legal issues and carries a significant prison sentence for a conviction, hiring a lawyer with a team of legal professionals is best.
Your lawyer has more cases than just your case. Unfortunately, without support staff, there is no way that the attorney can give attention to each case that is required to provide competent, effective legal services.
Summary of Qualities of a Good Criminal Defense Attorney
We have spent time discussing the qualities of a bad criminal defense lawyer and how those qualities compare to a good defense lawyer. So, let’s summarize the qualities that you want to look for when meeting with defense attorneys:
- Good communication skills
- Sufficient support staff
- Professional appearance and behavior
- Listens to you and is interested in what you say
- Offers multiple options to resolve your criminal case
- Provides regular case updates
- Substantial experience
- Understands the law and your civil rights
- Cares about clients and their needs
- Excellent reputation within the legal community
- Provides realistic legal advice instead of making grand promises
Do not become discouraged if it takes a few consultations to find a good criminal defense attorney. Investing the time to search for a good defense attorney may keep you out of jail and prevent a criminal record.
Call Now for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Plano Criminal Defense Lawyer
What you do right now could significantly impact the outcome of your criminal case. Do not trust your future and your freedom to the first lawyer that pops up in a Google search.
Take the time to find a good lawyer who has your best interest as their sole concern. If you have been arrested or are under investigation by a law enforcement agency, call our law firm to speak with a Plano criminal defense attorney.
We believe that bad things happen to good people, and we do not pass judgment based on what you may or may not have done. Our legal team is dedicated to providing you with the best legal defense possible.