3 Things to Know Before Hiring a Defense Attorney

Posted by Stephanie Snyder on May 17th, 2021

It could’ve been an argument with a friend that may have gotten out of hand that started it all. Or, maybe you’re facing accusations being caught-up in a he-said-she-said situation. 

Then again, you may be facing serious charges over something you may have considered to be a minor infraction. Whatever the case may be, it is important to take any charges you face seriously by hiring a defense attorney. However, know your facts before making a hire as there is important information you should know before hiring a defense attorney to defend you in your legal case.

Know Their Qualifications

First thing you should know before hiring a defense attorney is that they are an actual defense attorney, and not a lawyer. The titles attorney and lawyer are used interchangeably, but it is important to know the distinction when you’re dealing with a legal matter. 

A lawyer is a person that can dispense legal advice after graduating law school. They do not all practice law though. For example, a tax lawyer can maximize your tax returns, help with the IRS, and starting a business, but it’s not advisable to have them represent them in a courtroom. 

On the other hand, an attorney has passed the BAR exam, and is legally qualified to practice in a specific area of law defending clients (LawyerEdu, 2021). Before hiring a defense attorney also ask about their credentials. Don’t be afraid to ask about:

  • Where did they attend school?

  • When did they graduate?

  • How knowledgeable are they regarding the charges against you?

  • What percentage of the cases they take are similar to charges against you? What were the outcomes?

These things are important to know for you to know that they are qualified to deal with your legal case, and that they can effectively represent you (Legal Articles Criminal Defense, 2021).

Know Their Experience and Attitude

Knowing an attorney’s court experience is just as important as knowing their experience with cases similar to yours. As stated earlier, defense attorneys are qualified in a specific area of law. 

What this means is that if you need an attorney to represent you for an assault charge it is not advisable to hire an attorney that is more experienced in defending those facing drug charges. Be sure to know their experience in your kind of case by asking:

  • How long have they been practicing law for?

  • Their ability to negotiate plea deals with the prosecution office?

  • How often do their cases go to trial?

  • What, if any, bar associations do they belong to?

Knowing the amount of years an attorney has been practicing law, and how often their cases go to trial can give a fair assessment of their ability to give you a good legal outcome. However, asking about their ability to negotiate deals with the prosecution office, especially in cases like yours, gives you an even better idea of how hard they’ll push for a good legal outcome. 

For those that don’t like to take a person’s word regarding their skill, an attorney that belongs to an association is an attorney you can research to get objective information regarding their experience and credentials.

A big thing to remember, but is easily dismissed, is that you should always know an attorney’s attitude while learning their experience. Some attorney’s offer a free consultation, and this time should be used wisely. During a free assessment you can ask about your legal options, what works in your favor, potential problems in the case, and their recommendations. 

While listening to their answers, listen to how detailed their explanation is, are they being dismissive, are the outcomes they foresee the only possible outcome in cases like yours. An attorney can be highly skilled, but you need to be sure that they can, and will, work in your best interest. 

This also applies to attorneys in a law firm. If you are familiar with a specific law firm, then this may be a better option for you. Attorneys from a law firm, like North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys, are held to the firm’s standards, build a researchable reputation, and are more likely to get good results in difficult cases.

Legal Fees

Lastly, before hiring an attorney please know their legal fees. An attorney can be everything you need, but if they are not in your price range, then it’s not recommended to hire them as this can cause problems for you later down the road. The last thing you want to happen is an attorney representing you, but then stopping before the case is resolved because you are unable to pay them for their services. Before making that final decision of hiring an attorney you should ask:

  • Do they have a flat rate, or an hourly rate?

  • What is the price of the hourly rate if they do charge an hourly rate?

  • What is the retainer fee?

  • Is the payment required upfront, or do they allow for a payment plan?

  • If they allow a payment plan, then how frequent are the payments? How long do you have to pay the entire fee?

After having all the information, take the time you need before deciding if you are going to hire a certain attorney or not. If need be, check out other attorneys, or law firms, to find one that you trust to represent you, and can afford, after learning everything you need to before making the final decision. 

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Stephanie Snyder

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Stephanie Snyder
Joined: May 17th, 2021
Articles Posted: 87

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