The criminal defense attorney is one of those people who you may not give much thought about until you need one. When you do need one, however, it is important to select your lawyer based on his or her skills, qualifications and experience. Many lawyers who practice criminal law will offer you a free initial consultation. In this consultation, the lawyer will learn about you and your case and as importantly, you should try to learn about them. Oftentimes, a potential client may not appreciate all of the dynamics and complexities present in their case, and the need for a solid criminal defense lawyer to help them address the issues.
In addition to talking about your case and devising strategies to address it, a good criminal defense attorney will help you understand the criminal law system and navigate you through it. It can be quite confusing to those unfamiliar with it. A clear understanding of the criminal procedure is just as important as knowing the law itself. Equally important is knowing the ramifications of the decisions made throughout the process.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will prepare each case as if he will take it to trial. He or she has to be fully ready for that possibility. Sometimes, however, a trial may not be in a client’s best interest. Conservative estimates are that only about 10% of State cases go to trial and only about 2% of Federal cases go to trial. The rest? They are either dropped, enter diversion, are addressed in an alternate forum such as mental health court, drug court or veterans court, or are resolved by plea. What this means is that your lawyer should be as good a litigator (trial attorney) as he or she is a negotiator. Both of these skills are of paramount importance as you select your attorney. And it shouldn’t consist of skill in one or the other, but both.
Your criminal defense lawyer should be a tenacious litigator and a skilled negotiator. Both of these abilities are developed from years of background and experience. Your lawyer should have a deep understanding of who you are, the facts of your case, and the profound knowledge of criminal law and procedure. You should expect full engagement by your attorney — with you, and with the prosecutor. The best criminal defense attorney will be available, respond to your calls, address your concerns and questions, explain all facets of your case, keep you informed on its progress, and guide you to make the right decisions to resolve it.
Contact Retired FBI Special Agent and Former State Prosecutor Robert Foley of Foley & Wilson Law Firm for a free initial consultation on your case.