Choosing The Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime can be one of the most stressful situations in a person's life. The uncertainties swirling around a criminal investigation or a recent arrest can have devastating impacts on a person and their loved ones. With the potential of substantial fines, court costs, loss of a career or professional license, loss of driving privileges or your freedom is at stake, choosing the right criminal defense attorney can be a daunting task. This article is meant to give some guidance in making this important decision.
Private vs. Public
The 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a right for all Americans to have the “right to counsel” regardless of financial means. Ultimately, it is within the court's discretion if you are eligible for a public defender. While most individuals are deemed to be eligible for a public defender, some choose to hire a private attorney.
The vast majority of criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations for potential clients. Individuals should utilize that option when trying to make the best decision for their particular case. During the consultation, don't be afraid to ask tough questions. You are trusting this individual with your freedom, which shouldn't be taken lightly. Also, you should evaluate how comfortable you are speaking with the criminal defense attorney. During the course of your case, tough conversations and difficult decisions will be necessary. Whether it's the decision to go to trial, take a plea deal, call a witness, or file a pre-trial motion, you'll need to work as a team to effectively defend your case.
References, Testimonials, and Reviews
Just because an attorney is on a billboard or has a commercial, doesn't mean they are the best lawyer for you. Before scheduling a consultation, ask for references or look around online to see what former clients are saying about the attorney. Are the ethical? Are they knowledgeable? Do they go the extra mile to fight the client's case? Former clients are the best form of advertisement a law firm can have. Check out our recommendations here to see what our former clients are saying about us!
Solo vs. Team Approach
At Baldani, Rowland & Richardson we employ a team approach to our cases. We have five attorneys and three support staff all working toward the same result. We routinely sit down for strategy meetings, have a second attorney sit “second chair” in major hearings or trials, and use our different networks and resources to ensure the best possible representation for our clients. Other criminal lawyers employ a solo approach. This is just a matter of preference for the individual.
While inexperienced lawyers can get the job done, why take that chance with your freedom? Ask the prospective criminal defense attorney if they have handled a case like yours before and what were the results. Ask about what types of strategies they would employ on your behalf. At Baldani, Rowland and Richardson all of our attorneys are trial tested and ready to fight your case. While employing our team approach, we have over 100 years of experience to obtain the best results for our clients.
Local vs. Outsider
There are pros and cons to hiring a “local” criminal defense attorney or “outsider” criminal defense attorney. The most common complaint I get is, “Well they are all in cahoots here and I want someone to fight for me.” While there may be some truth to that statement depending on where you are from, there is also something to be said for hiring someone who knows the judges, knows the prosecutors, and knows the local intricacies to help navigate the tricky waters of a complex legal system. For nearly 30 years, the attorneys of Baldani, Rowland & Richardson have taken cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Some lawyers charge by the hour while others do a flat fee. Always get your fee agreement in writing so there isn't any confusion later on down the road. Are they willing to do a payment-plant? How much money up front do they require? At Baldani, Rowland & Richardson we like to get that conversation out of the way as early as possible with a written retainer agreement. That way we can focus on what really matters – fighting your case like it was our own! While we understand not everyone will be able to afford our services, we try to make as many accommodations as possible.