12 Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer

questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer

When you have been charged with a crime, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can be the difference in securing a successful outcome in your case. But how do you choose the right lawyer?

Most people start by searching the Internet or asking friends for a recommendation. The next step is to schedule a meeting with a potential lawyer. During your initial consultation, the attorney will ask questions to learn about your situation and will begin to develop a defense strategy. But it is just as important that you ask the lawyer questions so you fully understand the nature and scope of the lawyer’s representation and to ensure that you choose the best lawyer for your case.

Here are some questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer before you hire them.

#1 How long have you practiced law?

When your freedom is on the line, you want an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully represented clients in situations similar to yours. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can explain what to expect at each phase of the criminal defense process and will be able to anticipate what the prosecutor will do in your case.

#2 Do you do anything other than criminal law?

When someone earns a law degree and passes the bar exam, they are licensed to represent clients in any case throughout the state. But that doesn’t mean they should. Just like you wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon when you have a broken leg, you don’t want to go to an estate planning lawyer when you have been charged with a crime. Be sure you choose a lawyer whose primary focus is criminal law.

That being said, understand that many lawyers practice in multiple practice areas that complement one another. For example, Stephen Lebedevitch is a trial lawyer: he is skilled at synthesizing large amounts of information and preparing a compelling case for presentation to a judge or jury. He primarily handles criminal cases. But he also handles other types of litigation, including civil lawsuits and family law matters.

#3 Have you handled a case like mine before?

You want to choose a lawyer who has represented people facing the same kind of criminal charges as you. Hiring a lawyer who has worked on similar cases will save time and money and will likely result in a better outcome.

#4 How often do you go to trial?

More than 95% of cases never go to trial. Many are resolved through plea bargains, while others are dismissed, sometimes due to a lack of evidence. Nonetheless, to increase the chances of a successful result, you want a lawyer who can take your case to trial if the prosecutor does not make a reasonable plea offer. By preparing your case to be presented to a jury, you increase the likelihood of a successful resolution.

#5 Have you had cases before the judge hearing my case?

In addition to courtroom experience, you want a lawyer who has practiced in the court where your case will be heard and, ideally, who has had cases before the specific judge who will hear your case.

Every jurisdiction is different, every judge is different, and every prosecutor is different. You want a criminal defense attorney with local knowledge who knows what to expect from local judges and prosecutors and will tailor your defense around their preferences and anticipated actions. An attorney with local knowledge will be in a better position to evaluate the likely outcome of your case.

#6 Will you be working on my case?

In big law firms, senior lawyers often delegate tasks to junior associates and paralegals. While a paralegal or junior associate’s hourly rate may be lower, you want to be sure that the senior lawyer is actively involved in your case.

When you work with The Lebedevitch Law Firm, Stephen Lebedevitch will be actively involved in every aspect of your case and will handle it from beginning to end.

#7 What strategy do you recommend for someone in my situation?

No criminal lawyer can guarantee a result in your case, and a lawyer’s evaluation of your case will evolve as additional evidence comes to light. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer should be able to give you an overview of what they expect in your case and the basic strategy they will use in your defense.

#8 What options do I have other than going to trial?

In many criminal cases, alternative sentences are available. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for diversion, or your lawyer may be able to negotiate a reduction in charges or in the sentence.

#9 What is the best way to communicate with you?

Facing criminal charges is stressful. You are likely to have questions. And you are paying your hard-earned money for a lawyer to represent you and answer the questions you have. It is important to understand the best way to communicate with your lawyer and what to do when your lawyer is out of the office, in court, or meeting with other clients.

#10 How often should I expect to hear from you?

You should also think about how often you want to hear from your lawyer. The Lebedevitch Law Firm will provide updates anytime there is a new development in your case. We are also available to answer your questions as they arise. We consider it a privilege to represent people during some of their darkest days and do our best to reduce your stress by answering your questions and addressing your concerns.

#11 How much will my case cost?

Before you leave your initial consultation, you should understand how much your defense will cost. In addition to attorney’s fees, you may need to pay court costs, costs of the investigation, expert witness fees, and other case expenses.

Criminal cases are usually billed either at an hourly rate or as a flat fee. If your lawyer proposes a flat fee, confirm whether there will be any additional costs. If your lawyer works on an hourly rate, you may need to pay a retainer. Ask your lawyer for an estimate of the total cost plus expenses.

#12 What can I do to help my case?

Even though your lawyer will be handling your case, there may be things you can do to improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. There may be documents that will help your defense, or your case could benefit if you enrolled in an anger management or substance abuse program. You should also ask if there are things you should not do, like contacting the alleged victim or posting about your case on social media.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case

When your freedom is at stake, you want the best legal representation you can afford. You also want to be sure that your lawyer will be a good fit for you. Before you hire an attorney, prepare for your meeting by developing a list of questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer.

The Levedevitch Law Firm is located in Fairfield, Connecticut, and offers a free, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

Categories: Criminal Defense