When you are facing a criminal charge in Washington, it’s imperative you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Kent on your side. Since you may be facing jail time, hefty fines and long-lasting life consequences after being convicted of a crime, trying to handle the situation on your own or with a court-appointed attorney–who is normally overburdened with several cases at once–could prove to be a grave mistake.
Finding the “right” criminal defense attorney may not seem easy at first glance, but you can help narrow down the field by meeting with attorneys and asking the important questions before you make your final decision.
How Long Have You Practiced Criminal Law?
Experience is important when you are choosing a criminal defense attorney in Kent. The more familiarity they have with the type of law applicable to your case and the court systems in which it will be processed, the better.
How Often Do Your Cases End up at Trial?
Many criminal attorneys settle cases using a plea bargain instead of going to trial. While that is the right approach in some situations, you still want an attorney who has trial experience in case yours is simply too complex to settle.
Who Is Working on My Case?
Many attorneys have teams, which include paralegals, to handle their cases. Find out who else is handling your case and how you will able to communicate with everyone involved. With the potential of jail time and fines on the line, it’s only natural that you will have questions and concerns. You will want to go with a firm that has a clear client communication system in place so you can get answers when you need them.
How Would You Handle My Case?
The answer to this question will give you some insight into how the attorney will approach your case and whether they think you should settle via a plea bargain or go to trial. Of course, this answer will only be as good as the facts of the case you provided, so keep that in mind. Omitting information, especially things you feel reflect poorly on you, will not allow the attorney to give you a comprehensive answer here. When you do hire your attorney, make sure you are completely honest with them so they can account for everything that may arise when they devise your defense.
What Would You Need from Me?
An attorney should be able to give you an idea of what they will need from you at the start of your case and as it progresses. This may include information, documentation and other pieces of evidence from the case.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Of course, an attorney has no way of giving you an exact time frame for your case. However, if they are experienced in cases like yours, they should be able to give you a general estimate so you can prepare accordingly for the process.
How Much Will I Pay?
An attorney should be able to give you a fee schedule in writing for their services, and it should be clear and easy enough for you to understand when you read it. Never go with an attorney who is vague or unclear about the fees upfront or one who insists you sign an agreement right away before you have made a final decision on your representation.
Why Should I Go with You?
Although it’s a simple question on the surface, you can get some very important information in this answer. This can also help you gauge your level of comfort with and confidence in a particular attorney. Since you will be entrusting something very important to your criminal attorney, it’s vital you feel comfortable with them and confident that they are able to fully defend you and guide you throughout the case.
A criminal conviction can have an impact on your life for years to come, beyond fines and jail time. Having one on your record could bar you from employment and cause difficulties in your family life. Speak to an attorney today about your criminal charge so you are positioned to defend yourself from the start.