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Top 10 Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer

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After an arrest, it is important to seek legal assistance as quickly as you can. However, choosing the right criminal defense attorney can be a challenge. When you schedule a consultation with a defense lawyer, use the following questions to find the best representation for you.

#1: What Are Your Fees and Expenses?

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an important investment in your future, and you will need to provide compensation in order to secure a strong lawyer. However, you want to make sure that your budget aligns with the fees the potential attorney requires and what expenses you may incur. Ask the lawyer upfront what his or her fees are.

#2: Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?

It is important to hire a lawyer with experience in the practice area you are facing charges in. You do not want to hire an attorney specializing in fraud for a domestic violence offense, for example. Ask your lawyer if he or she has experience working with cases like yours and what the results look like.

#3: Do You Have a Strategy in Mind for My Case?

An attorney with experience in your practice area will have knowledge of common defense strategies that you may use in your case. After explaining the circumstances, ask what his or her preliminary thoughts are. By discussing this strategy, you can gain a sense of your attorney’s qualifications and how he or she communicates.

#4: How Often Will I Hear from You?

Communication is key in criminal defense cases. You want your attorney to inform you of all important updates and help you prepare for upcoming court dates. Although you might not hear from your attorney every day or even every month, you want to ensure that he or she will communicate with you when necessary. Ask this question to determine if his or her communication style meets your needs.

#5: What Potential Consequences Am I Facing?

A competent criminal defense lawyer will know what punishments you could face based on the charges pending against you. Asking your attorney what consequences you face will help you gain a sense of his or her qualifications and ability to prepare for your case.

#6: How Should I Prepare for Court?

Court preparation is vital in criminal cases. You want to put your best self forward, dress professionally, arrive on time, and bring the right documents with you. Your lawyer should be able to advise you on these courses of action. Asking your attorney this question can help you assess his or her communication style and preparedness.

#7: What Is the Likely Outcome in My Case?

Your attorney should be able to examine the facts of your case and provide a clear answer to this question. You don’t want a lawyer who is not direct or tries to hide the severity of your charges. Look for an attorney who gives an honest answer and actionable solutions.

#8: Will My Case Go to Trial?

Trials can be lengthy, draining, and expensive. To determine if your case would enter this stage, your attorney how he or she handles pre-trial investigations and negotiations and how often his or her similar cases proceed to the courtroom. If your case will likely enter trial, ask how your attorney handles the courtroom.

#9: How Often Will I Meet with You?

Many defense attorneys pass your case off to a case manager instead of meeting with you themselves. Ask how the case management process works and when you will be able to meet with him or her. If you would rather work with the lawyer frequently, it is important to ensure your expectations align with how the firm operates.

#10: What Are Your Case Results?

A criminal defense attorney with a long track record of success is preferable to a lawyer with a stream of constant losses. Ensure you have an attorney with proven results by asking about his or her latest outcomes.

If you are facing criminal charges in Washington state, don’t wait to find an attorney to represent you in the courtroom. Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible — and bring these questions with you.

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