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What to Look for in a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer

criminal defense lawyer

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help protect your rights. Working with a public defender or trying to handle the case yourself could result in a negative outcome.

However, there are a huge number of criminal attorneys in central Florida and not all are created equal. That’s why it’s important to do a little research before making a choice.

If you want to find the best criminal defense representation, keep reading. We’re going over some ways to spot the right lawyer for the job.

Specialized Criminal Defense Knowledge

One of the most important aspects of hiring a criminal lawyer is finding someone who has extensive experience with the crime you got charged with. Criminal law is complex and you need someone who has intimate knowledge of the laws surrounding your particular crime.

Working with a lawyer who has the right experience also increases the chances they’ve handled cases just like yours. This means they’ll know what approach is more likely to garner the best result.

When an attorney focuses their practice on certain types of crimes, there’s also a good chance they’ve received continuing education regarding those laws. This means they’re on top of any changes in legislation which could impact the way they handle cases.

Finally, someone with focused experience will know exactly how the courts work with regard to your crime. They’ll be able to navigate the legal process much quicker then if you try to represent yourself.

Find Someone Local

It’s also important to work with an attorney who practices in the city where the crime took place. Even though the laws are the same in surrounding cities, the procedures may vary.

A local criminal defense attorney will know prosecutors who work in city courts. This will make negotiating a plea bargain much easier if your case requires it. They’ll also know which prosecutors typically reject plea bargaining.

A local lawyer will have a network of legal contacts which can make the entire process much smoother. These may include court employees, paralegals, and bail bondsmen.

Furthermore, they’ll be familiar with local criminal court judges, which will help if your case ends up going to trial. Your attorney may be able to avoid judges who are particularly hard on perpetrators of certain crimes such as domestic violence or DUI.

Look at Reviews and Testimonials

You’ll need to start narrowing your potential candidates down when searching for the best criminal defense attorney for your case. Once you do, you need to search for online reviews.

That’s right, people leave reviews for lawyers just like they do for other products and services. This is a great way to get an idea of an attorney’s professional etiquette.

Reviews will also clue you into how successful someone is. If people frequently report positive outcomes, this is a good sign the attorney provides high-quality representation.

Keep in mind every case is different and some people will post negative reviews just because they didn’t get the outcome they wanted. This means you shouldn’t let one or two bad comments sway your decision.

You should also check for client testimonials on a lawyer or firm’s website. These will give you an idea of the type of verdicts they often get for similar cases.

Professional Accreditation

In addition to experience, you should look for other legal and professional accreditation. They help back up someone’s commitment to criminal law and the justice system.

Aside from membership in the State Bar Association, there are other things you should keep an eye out for. The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 recognizes lawyers for their excellence in the field. You should also check for a rating by AVVO.

In addition to legal credentials, check that the office you do business with has accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. This shows they provide trustworthy service to the public.

Most attorneys will post badges for these organizations on their site. If you’re having trouble finding them, ask about them during the initial consultation.

Look for a Referral

Another great way to find high-quality criminal law representation is by seeking out referrals. These could be either personal or professional.

A referral is useful because it gives you a detailed account of the way an attorney does business. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to tell if they’re someone you want to work with before ever meeting them.

There are a few things you should ask about when getting a personal referral. Make sure you find out how easy it was for the person to communicate with the attorney. You should also ask about a lawyer’s confidence when negotiating their case.

If you’ve used a different type of attorney in the past, they may be able to give you a professional referral. Attorneys have a large network and typically have relationships with people who practice other types of law.

What to Ask During the Consultation

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’ll need to schedule a consultation to speak with each person. Most criminal law attorneys offer a free, thirty-minute consultation.

It’s important you come prepared. Write down a list of questions so you don’t forget.

You’ll first want to explain your situation and find out what they think. Ask how they intend to handle your case.

You should ask if they’re prepared to go to trial if necessary. Ask about their trial experience and get a sense of their success rate.

It’s also important to make sure they’ll be the one handling your case. Some larger offices have one attorney perform the consultation and then hand the case off to someone else.

Finally, discuss the fees they’ll charge for handling your case. Make sure you’re clear about any hidden fees and if you should expect any court costs.

Find the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Your Area

If you’re facing criminal charges, there’s a good chance you’re under a lot of stress. Making sure you hire a top attorney to protect your rights is the first step in getting some peace of mind.

Use the tips discussed above and find the best possible criminal defense lawyer in your area.

We provide criminal law representation is Winter Park, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us today.

Fleet Tilden, Esq.
Fleet Tilden, Esq.
Beginning in 1923, attorney John Tilden, Esq. established his law practice in Downtown Orlando with a full service law firm serving Central Florida residents. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, attorney N. Fleetwood Tilden, Esq. began his Central Florida law practice after graduating from law school in 1993. After a career as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting Central Florida criminal cases, the Law Office of Tilden Law was established. Practicing exclusively Criminal Defense, Mr. Tilden has handled over 5,000 criminal cases.