Are You Looking to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you are unfortunately facing criminal charges, the first thing you must do is sit down and appreciate the enormity of your situation. The prosecutors and law enforcement officers believe you did what they charged you with and they can prove their case if they’ve filed charges against you. That means the potential for jail time, huge fines, loss of rights, and worse.

The second thing you must do is find the right criminal defense attorney to represent you. Make no mistake, if you’re facing criminal charges, you must find experienced legal professionals ready and willing to take up your case.

What Are Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Criminal Defense Lawyers?

Not all lawyers are created equal. And some lawyers who might be the ace attorneys at one type of case may be inexperienced in handling cases like yours. It’s about finding the right match between you, your legal dilemma, and the lawyer.

With that in mind, let’s discuss common mistakes people make when hiring criminal defense lawyers in Virginia.

Settling for the Cheapest Option

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this advice is meant to make you hire the most expensive lawyer available. That’s not it either. If the right lawyer for you is on the cheaper end of things, then that is the right one to hire. But don’t just hire a lawyer because they’re cheap.

Your life and freedom may well be on the line. You cannot afford to play it cheap.

Withholding Vital Information from the Lawyer

You should not speak openly about your case with family and friends. However, you absolutely must speak honestly with your lawyer. Lay it all out on the table. Your lawyer needs the full details about your case to properly defend you in a court of law.

The last thing you want to do is to surprise your criminal defense legal team with new information late in the trial and make your attorney – the individual entrusted with keeping you out of prison – have to completely change tactics in the middle of a trial. Your attorney will prepare for trial and conduct legal research to support the arguments at trial. If you change the facts during a trial, then that preparation is worthless, and you may have missed an opportunity to suppress evidence if you had simply been truthful with your attorney.

Tell your lawyer the truth. The whole truth. Always.

Hiring Attorneys with No Experience in Criminal Cases

Does Lawyer Option #3 have years of experience representing clients in elder law cases? That’s great. Does he have experience defending clients against ambitious state prosecutors? No? Then he’s not the right lawyer for your case.

You want someone with experience handling criminal defense cases and helping clients escape the worst penalties imaginable. Don’t hire someone who has minimal to no experience in criminal court.

Valuing Promises Over Strategies

Don’t believe the lawyer who guarantees victory, promises they’re better than the rest, or promises you every happy outcome possible. Some lawyers would try to sell you the moon if they thought they could. Instead, hire a lawyer who offers a detailed strategy for how they’re going to help you win your case.

There are no guarantees in the legal profession. Any attorney who guarantees you an outcome is either a liar or a fool. Hire the thoughtful strategist, not the eternal optimist (although a little optimism certainly doesn’t hurt).

Failing to Inquire About Their Financial Policies

Not all attorneys charge the same rates or use the same expense models. It may feel embarrassing to ask about money, but every lawyer has heard these questions before.

It’s better that you ask about the price now instead of later.

Mistaking Aggression for Knowledge

One of the reasons why you should hire a lawyer is that you might be highly stressed, scared, passionate, and maybe even angry when seated in the courtroom. These are not emotional states you should be in when trying to recount all facts, remain respectful to the judge, and pursue the most satisfactory outcome for your case. So, you should be worried if you see some of those same aggressive, emotional qualities in a lawyer.

By all means, hire an attorney who is energetic and a real go-getter. But don’t hire someone who’s so aggressive that they seem chaotic.

Let calm heads prevail.

Hiring a Family Friend

Similar to the earlier note about settling for the cheapest option, don’t hire a legal representative just because they’re a family friend.

This piece of advice might change if you happen to be close friends with one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state. But outside of that unlikely possibility, please think twice before hiring your friend or family member as your attorney for a criminal case. You might trust them with your life but remember: you’re biased.

Deciding You’re Better Off Representing Yourself

Don’t forgo professional legal counsel in favor of self-representation. This is the biggest mistake you could make.

You might know the facts of your case better than anyone else, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the law better than everyone else.

Hire a lawyer.

Schedule a Case Evaluation with an Experienced Virginia Criminal Defender Today

The Law Office of Seth C. Weston believes we could provide you with the legal representation you and your case deserve. We have years of experience representing criminal defendants in Virginia, helping them win cases and reduce charges. We would be proud to represent you during this difficult time. But we also understand that you have your homework to do. Please keep in mind some of these common errors while you’re searching for the right attorney. We hope that your search leads you to our door by the end.

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today. (540)-384-4585.