How to Pick a Great Criminal Defense Attorney

Truth is, most people don’t really keep the contact information of local criminal defense lawyers because most people don’t really think they’ll ever need one. 

But in the rare event that you do actually need to worry about getting a criminal defense attorney, you’re going to need to find great help ASAP. 

So, here are some great rules to keep in mind on how to find a fantastic criminal defense lawyer

Don’t automatically avoid a public defender

Truth is, public defenders can be some of the best trained and most effective lawyers you can get. They know the landscape of the court that you will be tried in and have very likely tried many more cases than any private defender that you can find. 

Beyond that, public defenders are often more driven by personal conviction than they are about money. 

Beyond this, you might want to weigh your options in terms of how you spend your money. You might want to use the money you have on bail to help you stay out of jail prior to your trial then spend tons of money on a private lawyer.

Start your search with word of mouth 

While you might be inclined to start your search for a criminal defense lawyer on Google, you’d be best served to start asking family and friends if they know of any good options in your area.  They might be able to refer you to someone who is great, or at least refer you to someone who is knowledgeable on the subject and can offer you an arrangement of different options. 

Then head to Google 

If your personal network doesn’t help you find a great criminal defense lawyer, your next best bet is to start looking online. Just keep in mind that just because a lawyer appears first on the list does not mean they are necessarily the best option for you. 

A lot of the best-ranked options online have more to do with how a lawyer or firm handles their website than how they handle the cases they have worked in the past. From that search, make a list of lawyers that you think seem like a great fit and start reaching out to them directly. 

Have a list of questions pertinent to your case

Whether you are doing your consultation with a firm over the phone or in person, you need to make sure that you are making the most out of your time and theirs. Have a prepared list of questions that you want to ask about your case and about how they work. 

Great questions include:

  • How long have they been practicing criminal law?
  • How many trials have they handled up to this point in their legal career?
  • Did they come from a prosecutor or public defender background?

These are great general questions to start with to get a feel for how experienced they are. After that, you can jump into the questions more specific to your case.