When it comes to defending yourself for a crime you probably didn't commit, you need to be vigilant and smart. You need to choose the best defense attorney to guide you through the case and help you win it. I know of many people in Virginia who have gone to jail for cases they could have won because they didn't choose a competent lawyer to represent them in court. In this post, we are going to give you six classic questions to ask a potential defense attorney before you agree to any terms.
How long have you been practicing law?
This question is specifically designed to gauge the level of experience of the attorney. Your future is too important to hand over to an inexperienced person who will probably earn you more years behind bars. According to research, it takes a lawyer nine years to become an expert in any given field. Therefore, it is risky to go for a lawyer with less than nine-year experience in law.
Are you a certified defense attorney?
This is a better way to determine a lawyer's qualifications and level of experience. You can ask if he or she has been certified by the State Bar of Virginia as a specialist in a given field. Attorneys that are certified by the relevant bodies have proven that they are competent enough to practice law in the state.
How many cases have you taken to trial?
You need to get a person who is competent enough to handle your case. A good way to do that is by asking the number of trials he or she has taken to trial or won. If the numbers are worrying, take a step back and continue searching for the best alternative. This means that they lack the required level of experience to handle your case.
How much will you charge?
Everyone always wants to pay as little as possible when hiring someone for a particular service. However, this tends to be different when hiring a defense attorney. You should entrust your future with the best lawyer in town. Unfortunately, the best lawyers are always expensive. A lawyer that charges a low fee should be avoided because that can mean that they are not experienced. It can also mean that he or she handles so many cases which may hinder him or her from exploring all alternatives for your case.
Where do you come from?
Most lawyers in Virginia advertise in places where they don't reside or have an office. This can be challenging because a lawyer needs to be quite familiar with the local legal elements, judges and prosecutors. A lawyer that has strong knowledge of the locality can spark a positive outcome of the case.
Will you be the one handling my case?
Some lawyers pose as representatives of their firms when you talk to them. This means that there is a possibility your case could be handled by someone else in the firm. One common worst case scenario is that the new lawyer could be less experienced than the one you had talked to. Therefore, ensure the attorney that will be presenting you is the one you had engaged earlier.