When you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, it can be a terrifying experience. A million questions will rush through your mind. Am I going to jail? How can I get out? What about my job? My home? My family? How could this be happening to me? And, perhaps most importantly, do I need a lawyer?
The answer to that last question is definitely YES! If you are facing a judge and your freedom, your finances, or your future are on the line, you most certainly want to have a qualified lawyer arguing for you. Many times, people who try to work without a lawyer, or who think "I'll just go to court and explain everything to the judge myself" don't realize how badly they have messed things up until it's too late.
On the other hand, most people have never been charged with a crime or ever had any involvement with the criminal justice system. Many find that the professionals immediately available to them - like police officers and jail personnel - are either unwilling or not allowed to answer any of the important questions that need answers. That is why hiring a qualified criminal defense lawyer in Daytona Beach, DeLand and Volusia County, FL can be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
However, most people have never hired any type of lawyer, let alone a criminal defense lawyer. All lawyers are NOT the same. Not by a long shot. So, how do you hire a criminal defense lawyer?
When people ask me this question, I tell them they should look for three things:
- FIND A LAWYER WHO SPECIALIZES IN CRIMINAL DEFENSE.
Many lawyers focus on multiple areas of the law. They handle family cases, and car accidents, and write wills for people and also handle some criminal defense. Then there are other lawyers who ONLY work in criminal defense. The lawyers in the second group are very often much more experienced in criminal defense than the lawyers in the first group. After all, it's all they do. As a result, those lawyers usually have more familiarity with the law and the different ways to mount a defense to criminal charges. Good criminal defense lawyers will know things that the lawyers in the first group don't even know they don't know. The increased time in criminal court also gives them a better understanding of how to work with the prosecutors and judges.
- HIRE A LAWYER WHO KNOWS THE TERRITORY.
Sometimes there is a temptation to hire a lawyer from out of town. Maybe it's because of the idea that a lawyer working in a bigger city is more qualified than one from a smaller town. Or maybe it's because of a concern that a local lawyer won't work as hard on your case because they don't want to damage relationships with prosecutors or judges. Hiring a lawyer who knows, and regularly works in the jurisdiction in which you've been charged, is very often a critical factor in the success of any criminal defense. Not only does each judge and jurisdiction have their own particular way of doing things (that a local lawyer will know better than someone new to the jurisdiction), but a criminal defense attorney with experience in a particular jurisdiction will also have knowledge of different local police department procedures, reputations of specific officers, and what kind of makeup a jury may have at your trial. When it comes to your criminal defense, you want a lawyer who knows & understands the landscape of the jurisdiction in which you've been charged.
- MAKE SURE YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER YOU HIRE.
This is the most important factor. If you aren't sure about a lawyer's qualifications, if they have had disciplinary problems with their state bar, if they're bad at returning phone calls, you aren't comfortable speaking to them, or they just don't seem right to you for some reason, then move on. Hiring a lawyer is like giving a job interview. If you meet a lawyer and wouldn't be comfortable with him on your case, then don't hire them. Go talk to another lawyer. At the end of the day, the person you hire is going to play a gigantic role in how the next few months to few decades of your life will play out. The person you hire needs to be a person you can trust to keep your best interests at heart, tell you what you need to hear, and someone with whom you can communicate openly. If you meet a lawyer and get a bad feeling in your gut, trust that feeling. Hire a lawyer that doesn't give you any doubts. After all, you may only get one shot at this decision. You want to be certain that the decision you make is the right one for you.
Call us today at (386) 232-4066 to hire the right criminal defense lawyer for your case in Daytona Beach, DeLand, and Volusia County, FL.