What criminal defense options do I have? Facing criminal charges is not a joke. There are thousands of people who are in jail because they decided to take a plea deal to avoid legal costs as well as the risk of getting a harsher sentence. Many others have been jailed because their defense attorney was incompetent. There are also some people who are languishing in jail, but qualify for early release on parole.
To avoid all these undesirable outcomes, hiring a criminal defense lawyer with a lot of experience handling similar cases is necessary. If you are being charged with a drug-related crime, fraud, sexual offense, traffic offense, assault, murder, theft or any other type of crime, it is important you find a lawyer who has successfully dealt with similar cases in the past to improve your chances of getting a desirable outcome.
The lawyer must also be licensed to work in your State. Since legal fees are always an important consideration, the hourly rate charged by a criminal lawyer should be within your financial reach. Ideally, you should make a shortlist of around 5 qualified criminal lawyers and compare the rates they charge.
The reputation of a criminal defense lawyer should also be considered. You want to be represented by someone who is highly regarded in the legal circles, not a lawyer who has a reputation of representing the filthiest criminals who want to be set free after committing heinous crimes. Ideally, you should work with someone who is respected by the public, press, peers and previous clients because their reputation will work in your favor and get you a favorable outcome. In fact, you can negotiate a lighter sentence when making a plea deal with a prosecutor who has a good relationship with your attorney. Availability is another key consideration. After all, you do not want your lawyer arriving in court for your hearing late or missing it altogether. After all, any delay occasioned by postponement of the case will be a big injustice to you. For this reason, you should choose a lawyer who will always be available when needed to represent your interests.
Where to Find a Criminal Defense Attorney
The vast majority of lawyers have an strong online presence, so for example if you lived here in Sacramento, you would only need to search the internet for criminal lawyers in Sacramento and make a shortlist of potential legal representatives. You can also ask friends, business associates, colleagues and relatives to give you the names of competent attorneys they may have worked with in the past. With your shortlist in hand, you can easily narrow down the search based on the factors mentioned above.