First of all, you should never represent yourself. If you’re charged with a traffic ticket, maybe, but for anything more serious than that, you should hire an attorney. You should treat the situation seriously and hire an attorney that’s experienced with your type of case, experienced with the court system, prosecutors, and the judges. You should hire a private attorney because they’re often going to have more resources and more time to work on your case and it’s going to be more of a one-on-one relationship as opposed to getting a court-appointed attorney or a public defender.
I’m not saying that court-appointed attorneys and public defenders are bad attorneys. They’re not. They’re very often very good attorneys but a lot of times they are overworked with an extensive and very heavy caseload. Secondly, you should interview several attorneys to decide which one’s going to be a good fit for you because very often, you’re going to have a long relationship with that attorney as they represent you and meet with you and help you fight and defend your case.
What Are Some Credentials or Qualities I Should Look For When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney?
First of all, you should be looking for someone who only practices criminal defense. You don’t want an attorney who does criminal defense, family law, personal injury law, and also real estate law. You will need an attorney that’s exclusively dedicated to defending people charged with criminal law offenses.
Secondly, you should look at that attorney’s years of experience and what is their experience. I recommend that you hire an attorney that’s seasoned, that’s been around for a while, that has experience as opposed to someone who is just out of law school. Sometimes the best defense comes from knowing the offense, so meaning by that that seek an attorney that used to be a prosecutor, that knows how the district attorney’s office works, that knows how the policies work, and knows the prosecutors in that office. They will likely be the best defense attorney you can have.
It’s very important to look and see if that attorney is board certified in criminal law. You want to see if they’ve taken the initiative and studied and become certified to be specialized in criminal law. Only about 5 percent of attorneys who practice criminal law are board certified, and that’s a very important factor in assessing whether or not to hire an attorney.
You should also ask and interview that attorney and see how many cases they’d handled like the cases you’re being charged with. For example, you’re being charged with a crime against the child, a sex crime against the child, what’s that attorney’s experience in that area, has he ever prosecuted those types of cases, has he ever defended those types of cases, what are his results, what is his plan for defending the case, you should really interview him because it’s one of the most important decisions you will make in hiring an attorney.
How Often Are You Able to Get Charges Dropped, Dismissed or Reduced?
My number one objective when I’m hired on a case is to try to get that case dismissed. That’s the way I look at the case from the very beginning: what can I do to get this case dismissed, is there evidence showing that my client committed the offense, do the police officers have the wrong person in custody or charged with this particular crime, what do they witnesses say, are the witnesses saying what’s in the police report or have they recanted in or now saying something different.
If we can’t get the case dismissed, then sometimes the next best possible thing is to get the charges reduced. From the very beginning, I’m trying to get the case dismissed and/or reduced to try to get the best result for my client.
What Are the Difficult Aspects of A Criminal Case for an Attorney?
Sometimes, it’s getting all of the evidence that may exist against the client, getting copies of the police reports, getting copies of any videos, recordings, anything like that to try to investigate the case. One of the other aspects that’s difficult is to go and interview witnesses that’s often why a private investigator is needed or needs to be obtained to go out and interview witnesses that could help in the possible defense of the client.
Why is Hiring An Attorney Important for a Repeat Criminal Offense?
Because they’re probably looking at a more serious punishment since they’ve been in trouble before. The prosecution is often going to use that prior criminal history against them to either enhance the current charge and make it more serious, or to make their punishment more serious. They need an attorney that has experience that can fight this new case to try to get it dismissed or try to get it reduced and try to show the irrelevancy of any prior criminal history.
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