Choosing a criminal defense attorney is one of the most important things you will ever do. Choosing the wrong attorney can unduly cost you your freedom, and that’s not a risk you should ever take. If you’re facing criminal charges in Tucson, the clock is ticking. You need to find a great criminal defense attorney, and you need to find one quickly. If you’re just beginning your search, these are the things you’ll want to keep in mind before you commit to a decision.
You don’t want to be on the operating table of a brain surgeon when it’s his first day on the job. You also don’t want to be represented in court by someone who just graduated law school last month. Experienced defense attorneys typically cost more, but how much is your freedom worth?
These attorneys cost more because they have higher overhead costs and a wealth of experience to back up their expertise. They have teams of researchers and people they work with to create comprehensive defenses. They’re dead set on winning. They have both the proof and the pudding. A lawyer with a decade under their belt has a firm grasp of the court system and knows exactly how to navigate it on your behalf.
Research Areas of Expertise
Crime is an extremely broad spectrum. Violent crimes, drug crimes, alcohol related crimes, and white collar crimes have little to nothing in common. The best person to defend you against money laundering charges might not know which end is up in a sexual assault case. An attorney with a strong DUI record won’t know what to do with a RICO case.
It’s common sense. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist if you had a headache. And that’s the perfect analogy.
It doesn’t matter that a lawyer is good. It matters what they’re good at. Lawyers, much like doctors, tend to commit to one or two areas of focus. All lawyers have to pass the same examination to become a lawyer, just like doctors, but what they do after that is how they distinguish themselves from their peers.
Some lawyers are exceptionally gifted in multiple areas, but are selective about the cases they take on. It could be that their outstanding knowledge of illegal searches, stops, or raids apply to your case. If your case is built on this questionable foundation, the particulars may not need to align with your lawyer’s area of expertise. If you know for a fact that the police had no right to search you, find a lawyer who is exceptionally comfortable with that argument.
Take Referrals from Trusted People
Lawyers are required to uphold strict standards of confidentiality. They cannot offer you internal details of their cases. Clients, on the other hand, are free to share whatever they want with whomever they’d like. If you have a close friend or family member who has been represented by a criminal defense attorney, it never hurts to ask them about their experience. Even if they aren’t comfortable discussing their case with you, they may be willing to give you a general review of their attorney.
Request a Consultation
Most attorneys offer free consultations, albeit they’re usually short. A consultation will let you know whether or not an attorney will be able to help you. You can explain the basics of your case and hear the attorney out. If you like what the attorney has to say, add them to the list of potential candidates.
Get as many consultations as you can, and be sure to take notes. Comparing what each lawyer has to say will help you determine the best fit for you.
Consider the Cost
Good attorneys aren’t cheap, and cheap attorneys aren’t good. Ask a lawyer what they will be billing you and how they calculate that. Is it an hourly fee, a continency fee, or a flat rate arrangement? Do you need to pay for other costs, like your lawyer’s travel time? Ask outright if there are going to be any surprises.
You need to be comfortable with what you’re spending. You may be comfortable spending a little more if you feel deeply comfortable with a particular attorney.
How Well Do You Understand Your Attorney?
The average person doesn’t have a wealth of knowledge about law. There’s a lot of antiquated vocabulary and complicated concepts that feel designed to befuddle the average person. The mark of a great attorney is that person’s ability to adequately explain those things to you.
You need to know what’s going on and understand the strategy your lawyer intends to use to defend you. Better still, you need to understand why that strategy will work. If you feel as though your lawyer is throwing a bunch of complicated jargon at you, don’t use that person. At the end of the day, you’ll have no idea what you’re paying them for.
Who Will You Be Talking with and How Often?
If you’re facing criminal charges, you want to talk to your lawyer more than you want to talk to anyone else. Your lawyer is probably a busy person. That’s why it’s important to understand how communication works. How often will you hear from your lawyer? Will they call you, or email you? If you call or email them, how long will it take for you to get a response? Is there someone you can relay information to when you can’t get a hold of your lawyer?
You want to understand how the communication works before you get started. You don’t want to begin working with a lawyer only to find that you can hardly speak to the person you’re entrusting with so much.
Don’t Know Where to Start?
If you don’t know where to start, book a free consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Elias Damianakos Law Firm. Elias Damianakos has a wealth of experience defending Arizona clients against many different types of charges. Elias is a former prosecutor, which has offered him unique insights into many ways the court pursues charges against the people of Tucson.