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Criminal Defense

How to Get Criminal Defense Legal Help

Get Legal Help with Your Criminal Matter

Because criminal law can sometimes be complex and the penalties include the loss of your freedom, it is important that you have the skills of a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side. But hiring an attorney is an important decision. To retain the lawyer that is best for you, you should not just focus on the lawyers with the most cases or even those with the greatest overall success.  Finding the right attorney should also be centered on finding a good lawyer for your case. So where do you begin?

How to Choose the Right Defense Attorney

Before hiring an attorney, you should research and interview potential candidates. A criminal lawyer’s website can provide you with information about their experience and services.  Do a web search on the law firm to see if there is any other pertinent information that you can find, such as reviews from previous clients. Another good resource is your local clerk of court’s website.

After you have completed your initial search, it is time to interview attorneys. Most law firms will provide you with a free initial consultation.

When you have your first consultation, it is important that you arrive prepared. Bring any documents that relate to your case to the interview. Be ready to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It is a good idea to come prepared with questions for the lawyer, such as:

  • How many criminal cases have you handled in the past? How many criminal trials?
  • How much will you charge in fees?
  • Will other attorneys be working on my case?
  • What is the best way to contact you?
  • Will I be consulted regarding the case strategy?

You want to find an attorney who is passionate about representing criminal clients. You also want to feel assured that your attorney is willing to aggressively defend your case.

Defense Strategy

A good criminal defense strategy must take into consideration the big picture.  What is the strength of the prosecution’s evidence?  How credible are the prosecution and defense witnesses?  What laws apply to the case?  Can a strong defense be made?  What are the potential penalties for being found guilty?  These are crucial questions that can affect the outcome of your case.

The Defense Story

It is extremely important that any version of the story that is told to the judge and jury be based upon the truth.  However, a truthful story can be told in different ways. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, a good criminal defense lawyer may use any one of several versions of possible defense presentations. For example:

  • The defendant may admit to some or even most of the prosecution’s claims. This would be followed up by an explanation of why the defendant took those actions. Self-defense is commonly a factor in these stories: the defendant will admit to killing the victim but provide the justification of doing so because the defendant feared for his or her life.
  • A denial defense occurs when the defendant completely rejects the prosecution’s version of events. For instance, the defendant may claim that the evidence shows an entirely different person committed the criminal act.

Preparation

Although defendants do not have to testify at trial due to the fifth amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, it is sometimes a wise decision for the defendant to speak to the jury.  If a criminal defense team determines that the defendant will take the stand, then the preparation to testify becomes vital.  Being cross-examined can be a very unpleasant experience, even in the best of circumstances.  A criminal defendant can be prepared by undergoing mock interviews with another attorney acting as the prosecutor, visiting the crime scene to refresh memories, and thoroughly reviewing the case strategy with the defense attorney.

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