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What Should I Consider When Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s generally in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney right away. Criminal cases can move quickly, and you can’t rely on what police and prosecutors tell you. There’s a lot of opportunity for things to go very wrong very quickly. But even if you’ve already decided that you aren’t going to talk to police without an experienced defense attorney in your corner, you may not know how to choose the right lawyer. 

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney in Augusta, GA

When you’re choosing among criminal lawyers, you’ll need to know two things: where to find information about attorneys and what information matters most to you. 

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Criminal Attorney

Here are some key questions to ask when determining which criminal defense attorney is best for you

1. What type of experience does the defense attorney have? 

Experience counts in most fields, and that’s never more true than when your future is on the line. When you’re looking for a criminal attorney, you’ll want to look at more than just years in practice. For example, you will want to know: 

  • How much of the attorney’s practice is focused on criminal defense. Many lawyers handle a wide range of cases, which may mean that even though they’ve been in practice for a decade, they only handle a handful of criminal cases each year. Criminal cases differ from civil cases in many ways, so you’ll want to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience in the criminal justice system. 
  • How much work the attorney has done on cases similar to yours. There’s a big difference between a first offense DUI case and an attempted murder case. Some criminal lawyers have wide-ranging experience, from misdemeanors to serious felonies. But, others have focused most of their practice on certain types of cases. If you’re charged with a serious crime where the evidence may be more complex, there’s a higher probability that you’ll need to go to trial, and the stakes are much higher, you’ll want to make sure your attorney has handled similarly-serious cases in the past and is prepared for the complexity.
  • How much experience the attorney has with the local criminal justice system. Though criminal defense is a matter of state law, there are some differences from court to court. That may be due to differences in local court rules, tendencies of local juries, preferences of the judge, or other factors. While a lawyer licensed in Georgia can practice anywhere in the state, it is helpful to work with an attorney who has extensive knowledge of the local criminal courts. 
  • How many cases the attorney has tried. Most criminal cases don’t go to trial. Often, it’s to your advantage to work out a deal with the prosecution. But, it’s important to know that your attorney is able and willing to proceed to trial if necessary–and it’s important that the prosecution knows your attorney will take your case to trial if that’s in your best interest. 

2. What have past clients said about the criminal attorney? 

You need a lawyer you can count on. Many people facing criminal charges start with a question along the lines of “What percentage of cases have you won?” There’s no harm in asking about success rates, but it’s important to understand that most criminal cases don’t go to trial. So, statistics don’t fit neatly into “wins” and “losses.” Past client satisfaction is a good way to get a better sense of the attorney’s success in reaching a positive resolution for the client. 

Client reviews can also tell you things like how responsive you can expect the attorney to be to your concerns, how quickly you’ll hear back when you reach out with questions, and how invested in the outcome of your case they are likely to be. 

3. What is your comfort level with the attorney? 

In a criminal case, you must have confidence in your lawyer. You must be willing and able to fully cooperate with the attorney. That means knowing you can rely on their advice and following it to the letter. It also means answering every question your attorney asks completely and honestly. 

Sources to Consider When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Now that you know what you need to consider, you may be wondering how to efficiently gather this information. Law firm websites can be a great starting point when comparing Augusta criminal lawyers. A good place to start is on the attorney’s bio page, where you can typically find information about how long the attorney has been in practice, what types of cases they handle, and a bit about their philosophy and priorities. Some firms will also provide information about their past case results. And, you will often find client testimonials on the law firm website. Ideally, the testimonials page will give you the opportunity to click through and see more reviews, but if it doesn’t you can check common sources like Google Reviews for more client feedback. 

Some information can only come from a conversation with the lawyer. When you meet with an Augusta criminal defense attorney, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the attorney’s past experience with cases like yours. You’ll also have a chance to interact with the lawyer to see how knowledgeable they are and how comfortable you are engaging with them. 

Criminal Lawyers in Augusta GA

Not all criminal lawyers offer free consultations. Attorney J. Todd Mitchell understands how important it is for someone facing criminal charges in Augusta to have quick access to reliable information. He also knows that the best way for you to find out whether a lawyer is right for you is to talk to that lawyer about your case. That’s why your initial consultation with the J. Todd Mitchell Law Firm is always free. 

You can schedule your free consultation right now by calling 706-750-0501 or filling out our contact form

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