It is best to hire a defense lawyer as soon as you are aware you are facing criminal charges. Often times you will be notified that you may be facing charges before they are actually filed. In many cases, law enforcement will want to speak with you before obtaining an arrest warrant. This is a crucial stage in your case, and it is important that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer to understand your rights.
If you do not have the benefit of early warning and you are simply arrested, it is even more important that you hire legal counsel as soon as possible. Your lawyer can gain initial information about your case, inform you of your rights and help get your bail lowered, or in some cases, eliminated entirely.
In most cases, you do not meet your court-appointed attorney (Public Defender) until your first court appearance. This is far too late. There are many potentially devastating mistakes that can be made before this point, such as making self-incriminating statements to a member of law enforcement. These can easily be avoided with the advice of a competent defense lawyer.
While there are many skilled and experienced Public Defenders, the reality is that you do not get to choose who you work with. It is possible that they may be very inexperienced. The Public Defender is appointed to you by the court, and you will typically not have the same lawyer throughout your case as it progresses through stages.
Finally, very few lawyers are versed in all areas of criminal law. Selecting a private lawyer such as George Tyson ensures that you are getting professional legal counsel specialized in defending the charges and allegations you face.
You've no doubt realized that this can be a difficult decision to make. A good defense lawyer can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Experience is very important. Begin your search with lawyers who are experienced with the type of charges you face.
During your initial consultation, you should get a feel for whether you believe in the lawyer’s ability to defend you. When you are charged with a crime and it is not dismissed, you have only two choices: plea bargain or go to trial. If you choose to go to trial, you need to know that your lawyer excels in front of a jury, is skilled at cross-examining witnesses, has experience advocating to the judge, and is not afraid to challenge the prosecutor on your behalf.
Finally, you should consider your level of comfort. Is your lawyer taking the time to listen to your situation? Are they responsive? Do they thoroughly answer your questions? All of these considerations are very important.
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule. While the old adage "you get what you pay for" is true, you should never base your decision to hire legal counsel solely on their fee. More expensive does not necessarily mean better.
Generally speaking, the severity of the charges is usually the primary factor in establishing the fee. The more severe the consequences and the more complicated the case is, the higher the fee. For example, there is a lot more involved in preparing for a Murder case than for a Drunk Driving case. It is important to remember that defense lawyers are not commodities. No two lawyers are exactly the same in terms of skill, experience, and ability. What you should look for initially is the best outcome. Find the right defense lawyer. Then, consider price.