Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential to successfully defending yourself against criminal charges.
A good criminal defense attorney will advocate for you and work diligently to get the best outcome possible. Their goal is to avoid a conviction and protect your rights.
A bad criminal defense attorney will not be capable of getting the job done. Knowing what to look for in a bad criminal defense attorney can help you avoid hiring one in the future.
What Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Do?
Every case is different, but experienced criminal defense attorneys will treat each case with the seriousness and effort it requires.
The following are examples of what a criminal defense attorney might do for you:
- Interview you about your case
- Investigate the details of your case
- Analyze the evidence being brought against you
- Contact you to provide updates on the case
- Negotiate with the prosecutor regarding a plea bargain
- Provide sound legal advice
- Participate in the jury selection process
- Represent you at trial
- Convince the jury that the prosecutor’s burden of proof was not met
- Handle the sentencing phase if a plea bargain is accepted or there is a conviction
Regardless of the case strategy that you and your lawyer agree to, your needs should be put first. A good criminal defense attorney will take the responsibility of defending you seriously.
Your lawyer will speak on your behalf and represent your best interests throughout your attorney-client relationship.
Signs That You’ve Hired a Bad Criminal Defense Lawyer
Below, we discuss some indicators that you may have retained subpar legal representation.
A good criminal defense attorney should be exceptional at communicating with you regarding your case. Your messages and phone calls should be answered or returned as soon as possible.
While it is important for your lawyer to keep you updated on the status of your case, they should also be communicating with judges and opposing counsel whenever necessary. If your lawyer is not responding promptly, it is unlikely that they will be able to handle your case in an effective manner.
Unprofessional behavior can be exhibited in a number of ways by your lawyer. If an attorney is behaving unprofessionally, it is a poor representation of you.
The following are examples of unprofessional behavior by a lawyer:
- Poor communication
- Showing up late for meetings with you or court dates
- Speaking rudely to you or others
- Dressing unprofessionally
- Failing to show up for appearances
- Missing deadlines
When a lawyer behaves unprofessionally, it can compromise the success of your case.
Lack of Experience
You should hire a lawyer who is experienced in criminal cases similar to yours. A criminal defense attorney who has only recently begun practicing law will likely not be the best choice for you. Instead, you should hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney who can effectively handle your case.
Beware of Big Promises
It can be comforting to receive reassurance from your criminal defense attorney, but they should not be making you big promises. A good defense attorney will do their part, but it is impossible for them to control outcomes. Your lawyer should never lie to you by making guarantees.
Lack of Interest in Your Case
No matter how minor your case may seem, your lawyer should always take it seriously. Regardless of how busy your criminal defense attorney is, they should show up for you. If your lawyer is not meeting your needs, you should consider finding a lawyer who will.
When Should You Hire a New Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you hire a criminal defense attorney that you later realize isn’t right for your case, you can hire a new lawyer. Your freedom is too important to leave in the hands of an attorney who is not prepared to advocate effectively for you.
You may need to hire a new lawyer if your current one is doing any of the following:
- Communicating poorly
- Behaving unprofessionally
- Lacking in experience
- Making guarantees
- Failing to meet deadlines
- Showing up late (or not at all) to scheduled hearings
- Not showing interest in your case
If you are in need of a new lawyer, it is essential to find one that will meet your needs and put in the effort that your case requires.
How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Future
Many criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations. You should use this initial meeting to determine if a lawyer seems like a good fit for you. Ask questions that help you ascertain whether the lawyer is good or not.
The following are issues to discuss with a criminal defense attorney during a free initial consultation:
- Past experience
- Success rates
- Fee arrangement
- Potential evidence
- Communication styles
- Legal strategy and options
- Possible outcomes
- Your role in the case
During the free consultation, you may be able to tell if the lawyer is a good one. Pay attention to the lawyer’s demeanor and how they communicate with you and their staff.
The following are indications that your potential lawyer may be suitable:
- Easy to reach
- Good communication after being contacted initially
- Promptly responds to you
- Attentive when you are speaking
- Communicates with you and staff professionally
- Does not overpromise
If you use the initial consultation as a preview, you may be able to avoid hiring a bad criminal defense attorney.
Contact Our Kalispell Criminal Defense Attorney For a Free Consultation
A good criminal defense attorney with extensive experience is a pivotal part of your case being successful. Our Kalispell criminal defense lawyer will advocate for you when you need it most.
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