If you are being charged with a criminal offense, it doesn’t matter if it is a minor misdemeanor or a major crime, you’ll need the services of a qualified defense attorney in order to avoid serious penalties. Like most people, you probably have never even thought about hiring an attorney until now, so you’re not too familiar with the process of selecting the best lawyer to represent you and your case.
When you begin your search, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are numerous defense attorneys that are capable of handling all sorts of cases. Some work for big law firms that have large ads and get lots of publicity. While others work in smaller, more intimate firms that maybe have two or three lawyers practicing. First of all, you don’t want to judge a law firm on the basis of size alone. There are just as many good lawyers attached to small firms as there are in big ones.
Even though you may feel a lot of pressure to hurry up and choose a lawyer to help you in this time of crisis, it’s always best to slow down and take the time to do some research first. Choosing a defense attorney is going to be one of the most important decisions you’ll make, because this person is going to be responsible for seeing you through the legal system and its maze of complicated laws and procedures.
Here are some guidelines for choosing a good attorney:
Look for an attorney who practices in your area
Attorneys live and work in their local community, and are often well known by local prosecutors, judges and law enforcement. They may be members of community organizations and participate in local activities. In other words, they are comfortable in their surroundings and know their community well. This is good for you, because you want someone who has established themselves in the Atlanta area and knows the players in the legal system.
Look for an attorney who specializes in particular areas of law
When you need dental work done, you don’t make an appointment to see the eye doctor – that would be silly. The same reasoning applies to attorneys. There are many excellent attorneys who specialize in civil cases, but they won’t be of much use to you as a defense lawyer for criminal matters. Therefore, find an defense attorney who is known for defending people who have faced similar charges to your own.
Look for an attorney that makes you feel comfortable
The client/attorney relationship is based on mutual trust. When you meet with a prospective attorney, you should feel comfortable with how they speak and interact with you. Just because they have represented a lot of clients, doesn’t mean they are the right choice for you. When you are facing the whole weight of the legal system, you want to know that your attorney is willing to aggressively defend you against all charges. If they show little interest in you or your case, this is a sign they will not mount much of a defense.
Finding the right defense attorney that can serve your legal needs is crucial. When you follow the above guidelines, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best legal representation.