Whenever a person is charged with a crime, regardless of how serious or minor that charge is, they should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Failing to attain proper legal counsel could be only slightly worse than not hiring a criminal attorney at all. A criminal defense attorney can help protect the rights of a defendant or defendants, especially against prosecutors and police officers who may be willing to take advantage of an uninformed and unprotected individual.
The first step to hiring a criminal defense attorney is to look only for lawyers that specialize in a certain type of crime. It would be worth spending some time building a list and making calls based off of telephone book entries and search engine searches with the phrase ‘criminal defense attorney’ and the city/state. Once this list is complete, start placing calls to see what each firm does and how much they charge. It is a good idea to ask potential defense attorneys about their success rate and experience level with cases that are similar to the charge or charges they might find themselves working with. The Siemon Law Firm is an excellent resource for this.
Some people consider it to be a wise idea to see lawyers from any particular firm they are considering in action before hiring them. While not everyone has the luxury of time required to sit in court rooms and evaluate potential criminal defense attorneys, this is still a good practice and only serves to underscore just how important it is be prepared before being charged with a criminal offense. Those that lack the time necessary to make this evaluation may consider asking the ABA (American Bar Association) or state Bar Association for a few recommendations based on the charges and the list that was compiled in the first step.
Finally, remember that criminal cases are often as long as they are unsettling. Thus, it is a good idea to pick a criminal attorney that is easy to get along with. Even a few hours in a stressful courtroom with a criminal defense attorney that seems to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution can make each second feel like an entire lifetime.