4 Questions to Ask Your Defense Lawyer
1. How Long Have You Practiced Criminal Law?
Experience is key when defending a client in court. The longer a criminal defense attorney has been practicing, the more prepared they will be to defend you and fight for you. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to anticipate the actions of the prosecution and build a defense based upon the anticipated actions. An experienced defense attorney can also advise you what to expect regarding future court appearances, required attendance, costs, the need for experts or any other potential issue which could arise for your particular case. The longer an attorney has been facing specific types of cases, the better prepared they can be. It is smart to ask them about specific areas of criminal law they may specialize in or what kinds of cases they handle most often. A question like this can also be a strong indicator of how strong of relationships they have with the local prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement. If they have a long history of working in the same court system, then these relationships give them a deep knowledge of the system you will be tried in and will allow them to better fight for you.
Also, you want to make sure that the attorney you hire specializes in criminal law. There are a lot of attorneys who take criminal cases but also do other types of legal work such as juvenile law, divorces, family law matters, transactional law, probate, etc. If the outcome of your criminal case is important, you want a lawyer who specializes in criminal law and doesn’t spend time in other areas of practice. In your situation, you need an expert in criminal law, not someone who practices only part-time.
2. What is Likely to Happen to Me if I am Found Guilty of the Crime for Which I am Charged Or What is a Likely Plea Bargain in My Case?
Most attorneys will tell a client whatever the client wants to hear in order to get that client to hire them. When you are facing serious criminal charges, you need an attorney who has the experience to inform you of what the likely consequences will be if you are found guilty of the charges against you. It will be of no benefit to you to have an attorney lie to you or tell you what you want to hear as opposed to being honest. An experienced attorney can give you direct answers about the likely penalties you face and give you advice about the things you can do to help reduce the consequences. Such early actions can include:
- Substances Abuse Counseling
- Mental Health Counseling
- Anger Management
If your attorney cannot tell you what a likely outcome might be for a particular case, you have the wrong attorney. If your attorney tells you that your case is “likely to be dismissed” or is overly positive about the possible outcome, that attorney may be telling you what you want to hear to you to get your money. You should expect an honest and critical assessment of your case which includes the possible worst-case scenarios.
3. How Often Will We Be in Communication?
Many defendants in criminal matters are unsure how often they should meet or speak with their attorney during criminal proceedings, if at all. This question can help you determine if the attorney themselves will be the main or only point of communication, or if you will be in contact with others from the firm. An experienced defense attorney will be able to help you develop realistic expectations of attorney-client communication during the various phases of your case, which can give you peace of mind and confidence during the stressful process of a criminal trial. It can also give you a clear idea of what form of communication your attorney will use to get into contact with you. Whether it is by phone, email, or even mail, it is important to know that your attorney can communicate in the form that works best for you. You should find an attorney that contacts you in the form and frequency that you feel you need to have piece of mind throughout your case.
4. How Often Do Your Criminal Cases Go to Trial?
When it comes to criminal proceedings, the best outcomes are often swiftly delivered. Settling through negotiation allows accused persons to seek a fair plea bargain, circumvent criminal court, and avoid placing their fate in the hands of a judge and jury. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will have the knowledge and skill to adequately assess the circumstances of your case, determine your chances of success if your case moves to trial, and negotiate a plea bargain and sentencing alternative (if applicable). This question is also important because if your case does go to trial, you need an attorney who possess an effective courtroom presence and the necessary skills to argue before a jury and judge. It is important to know that your attorney has adequate skills in the courtroom as well as pursuing plea bargains to be best prepared for whatever route your case may take you.
We Provide Skillful, Effective Representation for the Accused
At Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers, we have been practicing criminal law since 1965, and we have decades of collective experience. We are a group of highly skilled negotiators and litigators, and much of our success is due to our ability to resolve criminal matters quickly. We have helped thousands of clients achieve full charge dismissal and many others obtain reduced penalties, and we know what it takes to help you expeditiously resolve your case.
We represent clients who have been accused of a variety of crimes, including:
- Drug crimes
- Federal crimes
- Federal game and wildlife violations
- Felony crimes
- Juvenile crimes
- Military crimes
- Sex crimes
- Theft crimes
- Violent crimes
- White collar crimes
- Title IX Allegations
Connect with a Nebraska criminal defense attorney today by calling Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers at (402) 466-8444.