What To Look For When You're Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you need to hire a criminal defense attorney, something has gone wrong. The outcome of a criminal case can not only result in incarceration, but it can also affect employment, financial security, and of course, family. You need the help of an experienced professional who can take action in a difficult situation that will affect the rest of your life.

Three Criteria for Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

Whether a case is in Phoenix or Fargo, you don’t always have the luxury of a lot of time to hire a criminal defense attorney, but some key information could help you to make the right decision about hiring the right lawyer to assist you.

  1. The Attorney’s Background

A lot of attorneys claim to be experts in all types of law. If you encounter a criminal defense attorney who claims to be an expert in personal injury, bankruptcy, and criminal law, RUN like Usain Bolt! The law has become way too technical. There is no way to master it all. Stick with someone who only handles criminal defense.

Also, see how many years an attorney has been practicing. Getting a law degree and passing the bar are only the first steps in becoming a criminal defense attorney. It takes many years of experience to hone any craft and get really good at it. The law is no exception.

  1. What Kind of Charges are Involved?

If you are facing white collar charges, ask the attorney about their experience in handling this type of case. For example, ask them if they have defended securities fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering charges, or political corruption charges. While lower level offenses such as forgery and identity theft do technically count as white collar charges, the reality is that they are very run of the mill and don’t involve the level of skill and sophistication that’s necessary to successfully defend a complex white collar matter.

Drug offenses are no different. While most any criminal defense attorneys can handle a simple possession matter, large scale drug conspiracies, wiretap matters, and complex marijuana grow cases are far from simple and require years of experience in order to successfully defend them.

  1. Personality Matters

Let’s say a close family member needed to have very serious surgery and you wanted to narrow down the list of surgeons. Putting skill, experience, and reputation aside for the moment, would you think that a doctor’s bedside manner would be a factor – particularly if there is going to be long term follow up care and interaction? Of course you would. Selecting a criminal defense attorney is no different.

Many law firms have the appearance of a dressed up mill or sweatshop. That’s just putting lipstick of a pig. In these firms, attorneys are “assigned” to cases and often lack the personal connection or investment in their clients and their clients’ cases. Some lawyers are just very dry and have poor communication skills. They simply lack a bedside manner.

While this may be ok to some clients, if you are taking the time to read this, you are probably not one of them. Ask yourself if during a long period of time when serious consequences and repercussions are at stake if poor communication would be acceptable, or if it would make the situation even more difficult. I’m guessing the latter will be true.

My Take: Insight from an Experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer

Over my three decades in the business, I’ve yet to have a client who doesn’t want personal attention and communication to navigate the difficult ordeal of defending a criminal case. They want an aggressive defense and want to be kept in the loop about any significant developments that occur. As a criminal defense attorney who handles only serious and complex felony matters, I am fully mindful that my clients are much like the patient who is sitting anxiously by the phone waiting for a call from the doctor with their test results.

In the best of all worlds, everyone gets along well. But when you’re in the middle of a criminal case, you’re nowhere near that perfect place. This can create significant stress and anxiety that can affect a client’s ability to process information and move forward and play a proactive role in the relationship that they have with their attorney. I watch out for these issues and try and help my client manage them. I know that the more grounded they are, the more they can help me in the defense of their own case. Let’s face it, just like you can explain your symptoms to your doctor, only you can feel them. The same holds true for a criminal defense attorney. Keeping my clients as level headed as possible helps them help me to do my very best to help them.

If you are searching for a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix for either a state or federal complex felony matter, we may be able to help you. My consultations are personal and confidential and designed not only to gain critical information for the defense of your case, but also to see if there is a good fit. I want my clients to not only trust in my abilities, but I also want them to feel that they are in good hands so that their heartrate and blood pressure can go down a bit.

If you are in a predicament where you or someone close to you has been arrested, or if you feel that the filing of charges is imminent, contact my office at (602) 663-9100 to schedule an individualized meeting to discuss your situation.

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