Selecting the Right Defense Attorney for a Criminal Case

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Virginia Beach, VA

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Deciding what attorney to hire for a criminal case could be the most important decision a charged defendant has to make.  The outcome of trials are not determined just by the fac

Deciding what attorney to hire for a criminal case could be the most important decision a charged defendant has to make.   The outcome of trials are not determined just by the facts of the case, but also by how those facts are presented and argued in court.  The practice of law requires many strategic and tactical decisions that have a direct bearing on whether a person is found guilty or acquitted.  Below I have outlined some of the things you should be considering when deciding what lawyer to retain for your case.

Does this Person Primarily Practice Criminal Law?

 The practice of criminal law is very specialized and there is great benefit to hiring someone who tries criminal cases day in and day out.  Every year our legislature makes changes to the criminal code and the majority of new case law is generated by criminal cases.  An attorney who keeps up on the most recent developments in criminal law is essential.   Most criminal attorneys try cases in a courtroom on a daily basis.  Attorneys who practice in the majority of other areas of law rarely if ever set foot in a courtroom.  No one wants an attorney who is gaining “trial experience” while trying their case.

What type of Criminal Law Does the Attorney Practice?

 Not all criminal attorneys bring the same skills to the courtroom.  Some attorneys focus their practices on DUI’s and traffic offenses and have very little felony trial experience.  A criminal defendant needs to make sure the skill set of the criminal attorney they hire matches with the charges they are facing.  Ask the prospective attorney “how many felony jury trials have you done”?  “How often do you try felony cases in Circuit Court” (the highest trial court in Virginia)?

Reputation

A criminal defendant needs to hire an attorney who has an excellent reputation with both the local judges and local prosecutors.  Good reputations are earned over years of walking into the courtroom and showing the judges and prosecutors that you are prepared, knowledgeable on the law and fair in your dealings.  Ask around and find out how your potential attorney is viewed by the judges and others in the local area.

Communication

 The number one complaint about attorneys is that they fail to communicate with their clients and fail to keep their clients informed as to what is going on in their case.  See how quickly your initial phone call is returned by the attorney.  More importantly, how quick is the attorney to respond after they already believe you are going to hire them.

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