So the worst has happened. The police have arrested you. You are confused, scared, and shocked. You don’t believe you have done anything wrong, but the police have built a case against you and now you are facing possible prison time. Your very freedom is at stake. When you are facing such a dilemma, you need a lawyer that is on your side. But, how do you know who to hire? What kind of things should you consider? What questions should you ask? In this weeks blog the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower look at the important factors to consider when hiring an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer.
1. Experience: There is no substitute for experience. Law school teaches you how to research law and how to find answers to legal questions. To a certain extent law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer. What law school doesn’t do, it doesn’t teach you how to BE a lawyer. Only years of experience can do that. Learning how to prepare for a trial. Learning how to negotiate for a client. Learning how to conduct discovery. Learning how to do a trial. All of these thing only come with experience. So, when looking for a lawyer, ask about their experience. How long have they been practicing in criminal law? What kind of cases have they handled? If they are going to try to work out a plea for you, what is their experience in working out successful plea agreements in the past? Are they comfortable fighting for your position?
2. Quality: You can have all the experience in the world, but that does not necessarily make a lawyer a good lawyer. Is the lawyer going to bring quality to the table? Ask others what the attorney’s reputation is. Ask what kind of communication you will be able to have with the lawyer. A quality attorney will give you access to them. Will the attorney be available to you if an emergency happens or on the weekend. If you leave the attorney a message or an email how quickly will they respond to you. Does the attorney know how to be an advocate? Are they going to just make a couple calls and get a plea or are they going dig into the case, do discovery, research the law and try to position you to receive the best possible plea offer or be in the best possible position to win at trial?
3. Trial Work: Many lawyers have negotiated a plea agreement and attended a plea hearing with a client. Where the rubber meets the road is in the courtroom. Ask your prospective lawyer how many trials they have done. Ask them if they enjoy doing trial work. Ask others in the profession about the quality of trial work the attorney does. Being a strong advocate in the courtroom is not something every attorney can do. Being an excellent trial attorney is a skill, a skill that requires great preparation, a passion for your client, and an ability to effectively argue your case to a jury. Convincing a jury to return a not guilty verdict is a daunting task, that is not for the weak at heart. Make sure you lawyer is one that is comfortable with the court room and comfortable arguing for you in court.
4. Reputation: Does your attorney have a positive reputation in the community? Reputation goes a long way in garnering and maintaining the respect of the decision makers in your case. You want an attorney that the Prosecutors and the Judges respect. A good lawyer will be well respected and will have the skills to work with those involved in the case toward the best possible result for you.
5. Associations: Does your prospective lawyer belong to bar associations? Does the lawyer belong or serve in leadership positions in his/her community? You want to answer yes to these questions. Those that take the time to be active in a bar association have access to educational materials and case law updates that help them stay current on the law. Attorneys that are active in their community tend to be leaders. Leaders tend to be effective communicators and good lawyers.
6. Cost: There is a reason this is the last factor in the list of factors to consider. The old adage you get what you pay for, many times pans out to be the case when it comes to lawyers. If your life and liberty are at stake, the cost of the attorney should not be your driving factor. Attorneys that charge a very low fee likely have to take on a lot more cases in order to make ends meet. Taking on a lot more cases means less time to spend on your case. When you are deciding on what attorney to hire, focus on the first five factors first and then only consider the sixth one once you have narrowed down your choice. Good quality trial attorneys will be rewarded well for the skills. You need to think quality over price when it comes to defending your case.
There are numerous other factors to consider when hiring an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer, but this list is a good starting point. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense lawyers at Banks & Brower have the necessary experience and leadership skills to be an effective advocate for you in your Indianapolis Criminal Law Case. Review our website to learn more about us.