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How to Select a Criminal Defense Attorney

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Navigating criminal charges can be a scary and stressful time. When you need a criminal defense attorney to assist you through these pending charges, you want to ensure you are choosing the best firm and individual possible. With so many attorneys available on the market, how can you make an informed decision?

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right Tacoma criminal defense attorney for you.

Look at the Practice Areas

Different attorneys and law firms specialize in different areas of the law. You may know not to hire a personal injury lawyer for your criminal case, but hiring a defense attorney who specializes in sexual assault charges to represent your DUI charge would not be a good decision either. On most law firms’ websites, they list the different practice areas they specialize in and discuss the results they can provide their clients. Look for a firm that specializes in the area you need assistance with.

Find Someone in Your Area

Court systems are independent networks in themselves. If you know where your case is pending, try to find an attorney who has experience representing cases at that specific courthouse or in your county. That way, your attorney will likely know who will be involved in your case and how they behave in the courtroom, such as police offices, prosecutors, judges, and other expert witnesses. The more comfortable the defense attorney is with the courthouse, the more comfortable he or she will likely be with your case.

Understand the Attorney’s Fee Arrangement

Criminal attorneys’ costs can vary based on experience, location, and reputation. Lawyers who have a strong track record tend to charge more than those who do not have a high success rate. The key is to find a lawyer who works with your budget and has solid experience in the area you need representation in.

Criminal attorneys can either charge by the hour or charge a flat fee. Depending on the firm, you may have to pay additional expenses outside of the fee. Make sure to shop around and ask each firm about their specific fee arrangements.

Check Out Reviews and Talk to People You Know

You can gain a good sense of how a lawyer operates by speaking to people who have worked with him or her in the past. Ask trusted friends and family members if they have worked with any attorneys who they could recommend to you. If you have any connections who practice law or work in the justice system, they may be able to refer you to someone who may be able to handle your case.

You can also look at the lawyer’s online reviews to see what past clients have to say about working with him or her. If a lawyer has poor reviews or a certain issue, such as a lack of communication, pops up in several reviews, you may want to find another option. However, good reviews usually equal a great attorney to work with.

Take Advantage of the Free Consultation

One of the best ways to gain a sense of how the defense attorney works and whether you feel comfortable working with him or her is to meet in person. Most firms offer a free consultation to clients, where you can go to their office and speak to an attorney about your case. Listen to what he or she says about your legal options and how he or she could help you through your court process. Be sure to ask the attorney questions about how he or she operates: how often does the attorney communicate? Will you be working directly with him or her, or will you work with a paralegal or case manager? Does the attorney have experience in your practice area? Once you vet the attorneys in person, you can take steps to hire the right one for your case.

Once you have identified the right firm to represent your case, call them and schedule your free consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner you can begin building a compelling case for your future.

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