Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney – Steps to Make the Right Choice


When a person faces serious consequences like being charged for a crime, whether guilty or not, it becomes imperative to seek the best legal representation. Not hiring a lawyer with enough knowledge, experience, and a good reputation is something that a person under trial cannot afford.

However, selecting a criminal defense attorney might turn out to be the hardest part of the ordeal. There are several aspects that one must consider when selecting a criminal defense lawyer. Following these steps for making the final decision might increase the chances of a case dismissal, a situation where the defendant would be able to have a deal for a satisfactory plea, or the final trial result with a “Not Guilty” verdict.

Say No to Hiring Just Any General Attorney

First and foremost, it is prudent to seek the help of a criminal attorney only and not just any other regular attorney that the defendant is acquainted with. Criminal attorneys mainly concentrate their legal practice on cases related to crime only and certainly know better about the prosecutors involved. More importantly, they have the required experience and have dealt with hundreds of similar cases and can provide better advice in this regard.

Conduct Full Research

Not all the criminal defense lawyers handle every kind of criminal defense cases and some of them specialize in a particular area of criminal defense. Some specialize in handling violent crimes, while others specialize in cases involving drug dealing or rape defense. Conducting a complete online and offline research by narrowing down the results to the exact criminal charges would definitely provide some good names.

Personal Qualities

The relationship skills and the attitude of an attorney and their staff are equally important in the selection process. It is, therefore, critical to determine the different kinds of desired qualities and measure an attorney accordingly. Moreover, it is also important to know whether one wants to hire young lawyers and give them a chance to do play a big shot or someone with good knowledge and great experience.

Credential Checklist

Checking the qualification, prior teaching experience (if any), legal publications (papers, books, or treatises), outright acquittals, associations with legal organizations, and bar referrals is a good way to find a good criminal defense attorney. The possession of any of the stated credentials is a clear indication of the lawyer’s ‘more than passing interest’ in this field of law.

Check for Certification

It is always a better idea to check the certification of a lawyer with the State Bar or the State Criminal Law Specialist. The State Bar isn’t a private organization and will not certify an attorney in exchange of money or for promotion. Only the best of the best lawyers are certified by the State Bar or the State Criminal Law Specialist.

Case Discussion and Follow Up

Once everything is final, it is the time to discuss the facts of the case with the lawyer assigned by the attorney. At this point, the lawyer would be discussing about the proceedings and, thus, needs to know every bit of information the defendant can provide regarding the criminal case. Any discussion pertaining to ancillary services (private investigation, psychotherapy, etc.) and all the law office communications needed would also make things easier for the case.

With so many criminal defense attorneys available out there, selecting the right one might be a bit nerve-wracking. One simply needs to follow the right steps to find an appropriate attorney for handling a criminal defense case and come out clean from a trial.