Tips & Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

Ask the attorney the extent of his/her work background and experience ?

When hiring an attorney, you are hiring someone that you can entrust your case with and someone who is qualified to aggressively defend your rights. Many attorneys will open their private practice right out of law school without absorbing the invaluable experience that comes from working at either a District Attorney’s Office or the Public Defender’s Office. Although many of these attorneys may be qualified in their own right, you want to seek an attorney who has cultivated his/her trial skills before opening up their own private practice. Prosecutors and public defenders spend their time in the courtroom on a daily basis. They are exposed to various types of cases and they handle a wide range of criminal matters. An attorney who has gained such experience before going into private practice is at an advantage. He/she has gained training and experience in the rules of evidence, the Penal Code, the Vehicle Code, the Health and Safety Code, etc.

How many jury trials has he or she engaged in ?

Ask the attorney how many jury trials he/she has conducted or engaged in. This is a CRUCIAL issue. Many attorneys advertise that they are trial lawyers when they have not in fact completed a jury trial or they have only engaged in a bench trial or two. You should be weary of an attorney who has not taken any cases to jury trial. This should send a red flag because these types of attorneys are only interested in settling a case and not necessarily fighting for you or for your case. Depending on the circumstances, it is not always wise to push a case to trial if it is against your best interest. However, if you have valid defenses and you would like to fight your case, then you need to hire an attorney who is going to fight for you. You need an attorney who is not afraid to go to trial and who is confident and skilled in his/her courtroom abilities.

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