Facing criminal charges can be confusing and scary. Dealing with the uncomfortable situation, whether facing theft, violent crime, sexual/domestic assault, drugs, or DUI charges, to mention a few, can take a toll on your progress. It is no secret that the best way to protect your rights is by enlisting criminal lawyers to develop a solid defense. A reliable, reputable, responsive, and experienced criminal lawyer makes the process a lot more productive, driving towards favorable outcomes. However, finding such a lawyer is not a cakewalk.
The market is loaded with lots of services to choose from as you seek legal representation. Recommendations, considering licensing and reputation by checking reviews, ratings, and state bar association for any disciplinary issues can help you narrow your options. Once you’ve narrowed your options, say to 5 top-rated criminal lawyers in Chattanooga, TN, don’t randomly pick one. Due diligence is essential, and the easiest way to ensure that you hire the best is by talking to each criminal lawyer. During the consultation, you’ll deduce a lot to ensure you hire a lawyer you like and capable of furnishing your criminal defense needs. Here are a few questions to help you get started.
How much and how will you bill my case?
Criminal lawyers charge on various criteria, including hourly rate, retainer, or per case. Hourly rate means that you’ll be billed per hours spent on your case. Retainer basis requires you to pay an upfront cost calculated based on the lawyer’s hourly rate and expected completion time. If your case takes longer than the expected and billed time, you’ll need to pay an additional fee.
Per case is perhaps the most straightforward; the criminal lawyer charges a fixed cost for the case. This means that it doesn’t matter how long the case takes to be resolved. However, ensure that you understand the fine print. Some lawyers require you to pay an additional fee, such as if the case goes to trial. You can’t hire a lawyer whose charges are beyond what you can comfortably finance. Discussing the cost bit allows you to have an idea of how much the case will cost, ensuring that you are not frustrated along the way.
Who will handle my case?
Don’t assume that the criminal lawyer you met in office will automatically handle the case. Some aspects of your case might be delegated to interns, junior associates, or paralegals. Knowing this beforehand can help eliminate the frustrations of calling the office with little to no progress. It is up to you to determine if you’d be comfortable with a team approach or need a criminal lawyer who handles every aspect of your case. The bottom line; you are better off with a lawyer who can build a solid defense, whether they utilize a team approach or handles everything. Consider their availability to ensure they are not swarmed with other cases, meaning that yours could take the backseat.
What’s your experience?
Experience is not all about how long the lawyer has been in practice. Consider if they actively work on cases similar to your situation. For instance, DUI defense attorneys would be best situated for your DUI charges over a lawyer specializing in business or family law. Go for a lawyer experienced in criminal law, including going to court, as you can’t be certain that your case will be resolved without going to trial.
Before you make your final pick, ask how and frequency of communication. Some lawyers prefer office visits, other phone calls, among other arrangements. Establishing communication frequency and mode makes the process a lot more productive, as you won’t feel like the lawyer is dodging you.