22 Jul Finding the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
Choosing the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case
One question I hear quite often from people looking for a criminal attorney is, “Who is the best criminal defense lawyer in Indianapolis” (or any other city where they are looking). I think this question is the wrong one to be asking because every situation is different, so one attorney may be the best for one case but not another. This blog will review some of the things a person should look for and questions to ask when looking for the right criminal defense lawyer.
What Makes an Excellent Criminal Defense Attorney?
There are many different characteristics that make a great criminal defense attorney. Every attorney has different strengths and you should try to find an attorney that makes you feel comfortable asking questions and who is willing to take the time to answer your questions. No attorney can claim they are the best attorney or claim to be an expert in a certain area of law, so if you find yourself dealing with an attorney who makes those claims, that should be a red flag. However, there are a few questions that can be helpful when interviewing attorneys to find the best attorney for your situation.
Ask How Much Experience the Attorney Has Handling ________
The first question you should ask any potential criminal defense lawyer is how much experience they have handling your type of case. Some attorneys handle all types of criminal cases, while others prefer to focus on a narrow range of criminal matters. It’s important to find an attorney that is familiar with your type of criminal case so they have the knowledge and experience to defend your case in the best possible way. However, even though an attorney may not have years of experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t handle your case, but you want to make sure you are comfortable with their level of experience before getting started.
Remember, lawyers cannot claim to be experts, nor can they claim they are the best in their field or make any claims about their experience that cannot be verified. Any claims that an attorney has handled the most cases in the state or that they can promise a certain outcome should be a giant red flag about the attorney’s trustworthiness.
Ask How Much the Attorney Charges and How They Handle Billing
One of the main issues that arises in an attorney/client relationship is money. If both parties do not discuss fees up front, that can create a lot of stress down the road. It is very important that the attorney is clear about what the fees will be, how they bill and when payment would be expected.
Some criminal defense attorneys bill hourly, meaning you would pay a set amount per hour they work. However, a majority of criminal defense lawyers have moved to flat fee billing. This system uses flat fee agreements for each job, sometimes with additional fees for each type of matter. For example, you might pay $1000 for the attorney resolve a misdemeanor case through a plea, but pay an additional fee if the matter proceeded to trial. Or, you may pay a flat amount for the attorney to prepare a petition for specialized driving privileges and later pay an additional fee flat amount for the attorney to file a petition to amend the SDP order. This manner of billing allows the client to know exactly how much the fees will be and reduces any surprises down the road.
However, even with flat fee billing, it is important that the attorney and client discuss all fees up front. The attorney should always be able to tell you exactly what the fee is for and what fees you are paying. If an attorney tells you that you can pay a large sum and doesn’t explain what the fees are for, that should be a red flag. Additionally, if the attorney makes any guarantees or promises about the outcome of the case, either alone or based on what you are paying, that is an ethical violation and you should be very concerned about those billing practices.
Ask Whether the Attorney You Hire Will be the Attorney Handling Your Case
When hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you should always ask who will be handling your case. Some firms only have one attorney, so you will know exactly who will be there with you when you show up to court. But some firms have multiple attorneys that may end up working on your case. If you are concerned about who will be with you when your court date arrives, don’t hesitate to ask. You have every right to know who you are hiring and who will be handing your case.
Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
Julie Chambers established Chambers Law Office in 2012 after spending five years as a deputy prosecutor in Indianapolis. She represents clients facing criminal charges throughout central Indiana. Along with criminal defense work, Julie Chambers helps clients file for Specialized Driving Privileges and file petitions to expunge criminal convictions.
Julie Chambers is a solo attorney, so when you hire Chambers Law Office to represent you in your criminal case, you know that Julie Chambers will be the attorney handling your case. She brings her unique experience as a deputy prosecutor to every case and strives to provide the best possible service. If you are facing criminal charges, need help applying for Specialized Driving Privileges, or want to file a petition to expunge criminal convictions in Indiana, contact Chambers Law Office today at 317-450-2971.