Are you in the process of looking for an attorney to work your criminal case? You don’t want to choose just anyone. The lawyer you’re looking for is probably not the same person who helped you draw up your will or worked with your friend who was in a car accident. Both of these examples are of civil attorneys. You’re looking for someone who specializes in criminal law.
The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Attorneys
Most private criminal defense attorneys practice on their own or in small firms, usually in a specific geographical location. Those who handle civil cases often work in large law firms that have multiple branches and offices in several cities.
Personality differences will vary from attorney to attorney, so the main differing factor will be the nature of their work.
Here’s what you should look for:
1. Track Record. A criminal defense attorney should not be afraid to take a case to a jury trial. The more jury trial experience an attorney has, the greater his or her experience as a criminal defense attorney. Not only that, but often, when a prosecutor knows that a criminal defense attorney is not afraid to go to trial, the more likely that prosecutor is to agree to a better plea agreement so that the prosecutor can avoid trial. As a defendant, the biggest thing you should look for is whether the attorney has worked cases where the defendant was charged with the same or similar offenses as your own. For example, if you’re facing drug charges, has that attorney worked other drug offense cases? If they haven’t, you may want to keep looking.
Look through the attorney’s website, business Facebook page, and on Google to see if they list any case results. If you can’t find any, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for examples during your initial consultation. Don’t hire someone who refuses to discuss their experience, especially with cases similar to yours. Do they give you vague answers to your questions? That’s another red flag.
2. Reviews. Attorneys can’t guarantee the outcome of a case, but they should be able to provide you with previous client reviews or testimonials. Again, look at their website and see what’s listed. Do they have positive reviews on Facebook and Google? That’s a good sign. If you’re seeing something less than stellar, it could be another red flag.
3. Free Initial Consultations. Your time is just as valuable as the attorney’s. It’s common practice to offer defendants an initial consultation or case evaluation at no charge. Some attorneys will set a time limit on this, which is completely acceptable. It should be obvious from their business card, Google listing, website, or Facebook page that they offer initial consultations. If not, and the attorney mentions charges you right from the beginning, choose someone else.
4. The Local Factor. You should choose an attorney that has experience in the courthouse where your case is pending. Even though the law may be the same throughout the entire State of Iowa, the procedures can vary from one courthouse to another. An attorney local to your city will also know the police officers and how they perform in court when facing juries. Having someone working for you who knows all of these things is highly advantageous.
If you’re facing criminal charges and are in need of an attorney, give Cory Goldensoph, Attorney at Law a call today. He offers free case evaluations and specializes in helping defendants in the city of Cedar Rapids, IA. Cory’s job is to protect your rights. Give him a call today at 319-364-5525.