If you (or a loved one) have been arrested for the first time, how do you find the right criminal defense lawyer for your specific case? If you’ve never looked for a lawyer before, how do you pick one from the many lawyers available?
This article looks at how to find the right lawyer for your kind of case, and how to find the right lawyer for you.
Where to Look for a Lawyer
Often people start their search for a lawyer by asking for a lawyer referral from friends and family. With a criminal case, that can feel awkward unless you’ve been arrested for something relatively common, like drunk driving. Even then, you may prefer the privacy of finding a lawyer online.
How to Find a Lawyer Online
There are hundreds of lawyers in your area. To narrow your search, use several words in your online search query.
Include the name of the town or the county where you have been arrested or where you will be going to court. It is usually helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience with local judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. They may have a better understanding of how a judge operates, how the prosecutor negotiates, and alternative sentencing options available in that jurisdiction.
That doesn’t mean the lawyer has to be officed in your exact town. Some people prefer to work with a criminal defense lawyer doesn’t live in their town. Most criminal lawyers take cases in several nearby jurisdictions. They regularly work in several courts.
Include the kind of lawyer you want. For most state-level criminal charges, you can just include the words criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing federal charges, search for a federal criminal defense attorney. If the accused is aged 17 or under, search for a juvenile defense lawyer. Fewer lawyers focus on juvenile crimes or federal crimes so this will narrow your search results.
Include the type of criminal charge you need defense against. If you know the specific charge against you, type that in, but it’s usually sufficient to type in a general crime, like drug charges rather than possession of THC oil.
Sometimes you do want to be very specific about the crime.
- Few lawyers handle wildlife or hunting crimes, for example, so you might want to be specific about deer hunting violations or endangered species violations.
- Some lawyers specialize in defense of complex white-collar crimes and have specific resources and expertise.
- Some lawyers provide a strong defense in sex crimes cases; others prefer not to take those cases.
Find The Best Defense Attorney for You
Once you’ve found a few lawyers with experience in your kind of criminal case, now it’s time to determine if they are a good fit for you. You can do this in two ways:
On their website, review the About Us page to learn more about the law firm, and click on the specific attorney profiles. Their biography may tell you what courts they operate in. It will include additional certifications they have received, and honors and awards. You may find they are involved in the community in ways that connect with you.
Some websites have testimonials, either on a page or other places on the website. Do you see anything about how they work with clients?
Now you are ready to call and talk to one or more lawyers who seem like the best fit. You want to see if you feel comfortable with this person. You want a sense of how they handle a case like yours.
REMEMBER, you haven’t hired this person yet so don’t share specifics of your case.
You can ask questions like:
- Have you taken cases to trial in this county or city court?
- Have you handled similar cases to mine?
- What do you consider a successful outcome?
- What has been your success rate?
- How do you work with clients?
- Would you handle my case personally?
- What are your fees?
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
At Lee and Wood, LP, we understand the fears and uncertainty of being arrested for the first time. We explain the criminal justice process, what you can expect, and how we can help. We represent clients in Weatherford, Fort Worth, Burleson, and Cleburne. Call our Fort Worth law office at 817-678-6771 or contact us online.