How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer is a very personal matter. You need to choose someone that you feel comfortable with and that you are confident will represent your best interests. While the attorney-client relationship is fundamentally professional, it will also be very personal – you will be dealing with issues that can have a tremendous impact on your personal life. As a result, it’s important to choose your criminal defense lawyer carefully.
Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Lauren Wimmer understands that choosing the right attorney may be one of the most important decisions you ever make. She works with her clients to make sure they are totally comfortable with every aspect of the representation with the goal of providing the very best service. Your future is at stake, and she works to make sure that you get the best possible outcome in your case. If you would like to speak with her about your case, contact Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 to schedule a free consultation.
Do Your Research
The internet makes this step easy – you can search google for criminal defense attorneys in your area. Carefully read through their website, including the types of cases they handle (often listed under “practice areas”) and their blog section. You want to make sure that they have sufficient expertise in handling cases that involve the same charges as yours and practicing law in Pennsylvania’s criminal courts. You may also want to read the “about us” section, where you’ll find information regarding the attorney’s career experience. Some attorneys will post information regarding the results they’ve attained or news items regarding cases they have handled, which can also be helpful in helping you make your decision. You should also check the disciplinary record of any attorney you are considering, which you can do through the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Ask for Referrals
Ask your friends and family if they know any criminal defense attorneys they would recommend you speak to. Be sure to ask plenty of questions –
- Did they handle your case?
- Were you satisfied with the outcome?
- Were they easy to communicate with?
- Did you feel that you got good value for what you paid?
- Did they charge you a retainer fee? What was their hourly rate?
It may be the case that your friends or family don’t know any criminal defense attorneys, but have a good relationship with a civil lawyer who can help you – they probably know a criminal defense lawyer that they can refer you to.
Take Advantage of the Free Consultation
Many people think that if they take advantage of a lawyer’s free consultation, they have effectively hired that lawyer. This is not the case. The free consultation is essentially an interview. It’s an opportunity for you to meet the lawyer in person and get a sense of whether or not they would be a good fit. It’s also an opportunity for the lawyer to get an understanding of what your case entails and whether they can help you.
Don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions during the consultation. Because criminal defense lawyers handle these kinds of cases every day, certain things may be obvious to them that are not obvious to you. In particular, don’t be shy about asking what they charge and how you will be billed for their services. The attorney should appreciate a potential client who wants to understand every facet of the representation, as it helps avoid misunderstandings later on.
You also want to try to get a sense of how much the attorney will rely on their staff to handle your case. Staff can be a benefit to your case, as their services are usually less expensive. However, you want to be sure that the attorney will always be aware of what is going on with your case, and that you can always communicate with them directly.
Meet with Multiple Attorneys
The best way to ensure that you choose the right lawyer is to meet with multiple attorneys (again, taking advantage of the free consultation) so that you can compare. After meeting with them, ask yourselves the following questions:
- Do I feel comfortable with this person? Would I be willing to be open and honest with them, sharing personal details about my life pertinent to my case?
- Do I feel confident that this attorney would do a thorough job?
- How much experience do they have handling my type of case?
- Were they candid about the potential outcome of my case? Did they identify potential issues? Did they seem to be overly optimistic?
- Were they able to give me an estimate of what it would cost to handle my case? Can I afford their legal fees?
Come to the Consultation Prepared
You can’t take advantage of the consultation if you’re unprepared. At best, you will get a very general sense of what the attorney can do for you. When you schedule the consultation, ask what information they will need from you and what documents you need to bring.
As a general rule, you should prepare for the consultation as follows:
- Bring copies of any paperwork you have received regarding your charges: the ticket, court summons, or other documents.
- Make a note regarding the date, time, and location that the incident occurred.
- Jot down as many facts as you can recall concerning the incident. Be as specific as possible.
- If you have a prior criminal history, bring as much documentation about your previous cases as possible. If you don’t have any, try to write down any prior charges or convictions that you may have.
- Write down a list of any questions you may have – this can help you stay focused during the meeting.
Coming to the consultation prepared ensures that the meeting will be productive, which helps you choose the right attorney.
Charged with a Crime? Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer
Under Pennsylvania law, a criminal conviction can have life-altering consequences. In addition to jail time and potential fines, your record will be available to the public. This means that, in addition to the embarrassment you experience, your conviction could also make it difficult to get a job. You don’t have to face your charges alone – protect your future by hiring an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney. Call Lauren Wimmer at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you.