If you’re looking to hire a criminal defense attorney, then it is likely that you have committed a crime or are being accused of committing a crime. In this situation, you’ll need to be as thorough as you can when choosing your legal representative, as the right criminal defense attorneys in Orlando can determine the severity of your sentence and criminal charges.
While many defendants in a criminal case are assigned a criminal defense lawyer under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, it’s still important for the defendants to ask their lawyer the following questions in order to determine whether the attorney will be beneficial to their specific criminal case.
1. What are the attorney fees?
Since attorneys can be rather expensive, it’s important to ask the criminal defense lawyer what their attorney fees are as soon as possible, as you don’t want to accumulate a heavy debt as a result of the criminal case. Criminal defense lawyers typically require a retainer fee be paid up front, so you’ll have to make sure that the retainer is within your price range before proceeding with hiring an attorney. If you’re convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and are hoping to receive the best possible sentence, then it may be in your best interest to ask your family members to assist in you payments in order to avoid having to settle for a plea deal.
It’s also important to understand that the fees may differ depending on whether you are seeking defense lawyers in private practice or a public defender. Depending on the level of legal representation you retain, your conviction may vary. Typically, your case will achieve the best outcome if you are represented by a criminal defense lawyer from a private practice.
2. Will this case go to trial?
While dramatic criminal defense cases are often depicted in tense courtrooms in television dramas, this isn’t necessarily the case in real life convictions. The criminal justice system in the United States hardly sees defendant’s go to trial—in 2018 alone there were approximately 80,000 federal criminal cases; however, only 2% of them were tried in front of a judge or jury.
If you have a case that does happen to go to trial, you should expect it to take years, as the criminal justice system requires extensive legal work, and both the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney have to be thorough every step of the way. Before a case can even see trial, the attorneys must work on discovery and the gathering of evidence, which can take years on their own. There are so many aspects within a criminal case, so if an attorney fails to work carefully and thoroughly, that can cause the defendant to suffer from unjust incarceration.
3. How many similar cases have you worked on?
Attorneys typically specialize in particular practice areas, so you want to make sure that your attorney has years of experience handling your type of criminal case. Having extensive work experience in a specific field can allow an attorney to be successful within the legal field and can provide proper legal advice throughout your lawsuit. An experienced attorney will also be capable of handling themselves in front of the prosecuting attorney and a judge.
Many attorneys begin studying their desired practice area in law school, so you can also ask your attorney what they studied while they were a law student in order to see how much they care about criminal law. Criminal defense attorneys are typically passionate about criminal justice as well as the pursuit of justice for defendants, so having an attorney who studied criminal law while they were only juris doctor candidates can really impact your case. Law schools often provide internships in criminal law practice areas, so you can also ask your attorney if they began working in criminal law firms while they were still in law school.
It’s also important to ask your attorney when they graduated from law school, as many people attend law school later in life as older students. Although becoming a lawyer later in life is a great way for someone to begin a second career, you want to be aware of whether you have a new lawyer handling your case.
4. How can you help the attorney prepare?
Regardless of how experiences your attorney may be, you’ll still be required to assist them throughout the duration of your law suit. Your cooperation throughout the case can be a significant factor in reaching a verdict. If you ask your attorney specifically what is needed of you, you will be able to provide more useful resources. It can be beneficial to ask your attorney for a list of resources that they need from you, and you will predominantly be needed to assist throughout the discovery process.
The discovery that is required of you may vary as a result of your case. For example, if you are being tried for murder and are facing severe penalties, your attorney may request that you provide them with your mental health history in order to determine whether you committed the crime as a result of mental issues. Being able to prove to the court that you are suffering from mental health problems can drastically reduce the severity of your punishment. On the other hand, if you committed the murder out of self-defense and you have security footage that can show the situation to the court, you could possibly avoid a conviction altogether.
However, if you have a criminal record, this will also be an essential piece of information in this process as your attorney will need to be prepared to respond to the prosecuting attorney in the event that it is used against you in court.
5. What can you expect throughout this lawsuit?
Since lawsuits typically follow a specific routine, your attorney can give you a pretty decent rundown of what you can expect throughout your case. A criminal law case typically consists of an investigation, conviction of the suspected criminal, fact gathering, plead deals, and in some cases, a courtroom trial.
For many people, these cases can be rather stressful, and defendants who are in jail for the duration of the lawsuit may be particularly prone to suffering. Some attorneys may suggest their clients to seek emotional guidance through therapy or the Bible. Seeking religious guidance can often be a turning point for defendants who are trying to better themselves after committing a crime, and a new revised standard version bible is something that is allowed within most jail cells. Bible study is typically offered within prison systems, so it can be a great way to spend your time while awaiting the verdict of your case.
Following your attorneys guidance regarding the standard aspects of a lawsuit as well as taking care of your emotional wellbeing will help you through this stressful life experience. Whether this is your first time being convicted or you’ve accumulated some crimes on your criminal record, asking your attorney for advice on what you can expect can help you cope with the situation better.
Lawsuits aren’t like how they are portrayed in the media, so having an honest and upfront criminal attorney help you prepare for what to expect can be useful throughout this life experience.