If you've been charged with a criminal charge such as drug possession, white collar crime, or any other charge that involves needing a criminal defense attorney, you may find yourself suddenly facing a very large decision. Which attorney do you hire? There are many choices out there, but not all of them may be right for you. How do you go about finding the right attorney? It's easier than you might think.
One of the easiest ways of attaining a lawyer of your choice is to use Vermont's Lawyer Referral Service. This service is hosted by the Vermont Bar Association, and it allows you to get the names, numbers, and basic information of a variety of attorneys. All you have to do is provide the referral service some basic information about your case to the service via phone or via their online website. They will then match your case to lawyers who specialize in that area and have expertise in trying cases similar to yours. After getting the contact information of the selected attorneys, you may call them and set up a consultation. These consultations are usually about half an hour in length. The attorneys who are part of the referral service have all agreed to charge $25 or less for this meeting. Some are even free.
Another option, in fact the easiest option, is to accept the attorney the court appoints for you. All cases concerning criminal defense in Vermont are eligible for court appointed attorneys. However, you must show that you cannot afford legal representation on your own. This may involve turning over copies of your income and expenses for the past few months and copies of your bank statements. The benefit to this is that you know you're getting an attorney who has experience and education in criminal defense. The drawback is that you don't know how much experience or training the attorney has, and you are not able to pick your own lawyer.
This option is more difficult than either getting referrals or taking your court appointed lawyer. The best thing to do if you're going to go out and find yourself a criminal defense attorney is to ask your friends and family if they have any recommendations. Be sure to check out all potential attorneys, including interviewing them and asking the bar association about any complaints filed against them, before hiring them.