You need to enlist the services of a lawyer immediately if you have been charged with a crime. Finding the right Denver criminal lawyer can be difficult if you do not know where to turn for guidance. You must also know what questions to ask. Follow the tips below to ensure that you are adequately prepared to choose the right advocate to beat your charge.
Questions You Should Ask Your Prospective Criminal Defense Attorneys
What is your practice area of expertise? This should be one of the first questions you ask prospective attorneys if you have not already gleaned the answer from their promotional materials or some other third-party source. Not all criminal defense attorneys are created equal. For example, hiring a lawyer who primarily defends indecent exposure or hit-and-run defendants when you are facing a DUI charge would be an illogical decision. What you really need is an attorney whose primary practice area is DUI defense.
How long have you been practicing in this jurisdiction? A lawyer’s experience level will affect the price he charges for his services. That is, you will likely pay more for an experienced attorney than you would for one who has recently graduated from law school. The upside is that the extra money you spend on a lawyer who knows how to handle cases like yours and handle them well increases your chances of being exonerated or, at the very least, being offered a desirable plea bargain.
What is your fee structure? Lawyers who specialize in a particular practice area generally charge more for their services than general practitioners who have no specific specialization. Criminal lawyers are not permitted to accept payment on a contingent fee basis. This means that they will bill you regardless of whether your desired outcome is achieved. Most bill their clients at a set hourly rate, although some charge a flat fee for certain types of cases (e.g., a DUI defense). Fees are an important part of the equation but should not be wholly determinative, especially in criminal cases where your freedom and record could be at stake.
Do you have time to represent me? Hiring a successful criminal defense attorney is a double-edged sword. The attorney’s history of success proves that he is capable of obtaining a favorable outcome for you. However, it also likely means that he will have a long list of prospective clients who are vying for his time. This can also be the case for a new attorney who takes every case he is offered. Thus, you should make every effort to determine each prospective attorney’s caseload and take it into consideration when deciding whom to hire.
Will you be personally handling my case and appearing in court with me? Busy attorneys often delegate work to their associates, law clerks, paralegals, secretaries or other office staff members. Make sure you know who will be doing the legwork for your case before deciding which attorney to hire.