No one ever thinks he is going to need a criminal defense attorney because, with few exceptions, no one ever plans on going out and committing a crime or being the object of a law enforcement investigation. If circumstances arise when you need a criminal defense attorney often the decision whether to hire an attorney or who to hire is made swiftly and with only enough thought allowed by time. As a former prosecutor I have seen both great defense attorneys and those who were so unskilled that I wondered what they said during the initial consultation to instill enough confidence in the defendant to hire them. As a defense attorney, I have strived to take the qualities I saw in the great defense attorneys and incorporate it into my own practice. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind if you are faced with needing to find a criminal defense attorney.
You are charged with a crime that, if you are convicted, could have lasting implications on your future, your liberty, and your wallet. Choosing an attorney who will represent you is highly personal. You need to be able to trust your attorney and work with him/her. Your attorney is not a magician, a mind-reader, or endowed with supernatural powers to travel back in time and observe the incident that resulted in your being charged. If you don’t trust your attorney enough to be able to speak to him/her openly and honestly about your case and provide him/her with the information necessary to adequately represent you, you are wasting your money.
Everyone has his/her own personality, and it doesn’t always mesh with another’s. Often being able to trust your attorney is a question of whether your personalities mesh. If you do not feel like you can get along with your attorney, how can you work with them? If you can’t work with them, how can you trust them?
3. Experience matters
The criminal justice system is a complex one that few people deal with on a daily basis. Those who do deal with it on a daily basis are law enforcement, prosecutors, probation officers, etc. Good criminal defense attorneys are the ones who are just as familiar with the players as well as the criminal justice system itself. As a prosecutor, there were defense attorneys I enjoyed working with and those who I cringed when I saw their name on an entry of appearance. The ones I enjoyed working with were the ones who had worked in the system enough to know the strength of the charges their client was facing and appropriately and effectively represented them. Those who adopted a position the state was automatically trampling on an individual’s constitutional rights and approached negotiations and hearings with an air of righteous indignation were the hardest to work with. While the posturing and shouting may have satisfied the client the fee was money well spent, it did little toward resolving a case.
At Ex-Feds we have been on both sides of the equation. We are former federal agents and federal and state prosecutors. We know what goes into prosecuting a case against someone because we have done it ourselves many times over. We will be able to give you an honest assessment of your situation and discuss options to resolve your case. Often a plea bargain or negotiated settlement of the charges may be your best option, but rest assured if a trial is your best option you will be represented by seasoned and experienced litigators.
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