No matter the crime you've been charged with, and even if it's your first offense, you want to hire a good criminal defense lawyer. He or she can protect your rights and do everything possible to keep you out of jail, reduce fines you might face, and protect your permanent record. While a good criminal defense attorney may be costly, you don't want to simply choose the cheapest attorney you can find. Note a few important reminders when making your choice.
1. Choose a specialist
You don't want a criminal defense attorney who normally handles general law, personal injury, and other such cases, and then also handles a few drunk driving cases on the side. This is because an attorney's experience will make a huge difference in how well they argue your case, and an attorney who handles certain cases part-time may simply be quick to agree to any offer given to them by a prosecutor.
A specialist who has argued many cases like yours and who makes criminal defense their only area of law may be more skilled at making an argument before a judge when it comes to the crimes for which you've been charged. They may even be more knowledgeable of recent laws that can affect your case.
2. Note if they have a defense strategy for you
A good defense attorney should do more than just enter a "not guilty" plea for you and tell the judge or jury that the other side didn't prove their case. They should be working hard at creating a defense for you; this can mean picking apart the evidence, questioning witnesses, bolstering your alibi, and the like. If a defense attorney doesn't start talking about a strategy and what it will involve for you, this can be a bad sign. Choose one that proactively defends you, and not one that simply lets the case play out while hoping for the best.
3. Be sure they listen to what you prefer
A criminal defense attorney may work very hard to keep you out of jail and reduce penalties, but you may have your own preferences for how your case works out. For example, you may be willing to plead guilty to a certain charge if it means not having your children or family be questioned by police. A good criminal defense attorney should recognize that you're the one being charged and you need to live with the consequences of the decisions you make together, so ensure you choose one that makes recommendations but still respects your wishes.