I’m charged With a Felony, How Do I Pick an Attorney?
A felony is any crime punishable by more than a year incarceration or more than a $1000 fine. If you find yourself charged with such a crime, your life could be changed forever. Beyond the jail time or high fine, a felony conviction can restrict you from many of the rights enjoyed by non-felons such as owning firearms and voting.
If you find yourself charged with a felony, how do you pick an attorney to represent you? First, be sure to pick an attorney who focuses on criminal defense. There are many attorneys who dabble in criminal defense among many other practice areas. While you may get a good result with such an attorney, why not hire someone who spends a majority of their practice on criminal defense?
The first question you should ask a potential defense attorney is whether or not they are willing to take your case to trial. Most criminal cases end up resolved through a plea bargain. There are many reasons for this, and a good criminal defense attorney will be able to explain this to you.
However, the quality of the plea bargain can vary dramatically. If the Assistant District Attorney knows that your attorney is willing to take your case to trial, the chances of a better offer are higher. As in most negotiations, the ability/willingness to walk away from the deal gives you an advantage. Trial work is an area of law that only a small percentage of attorneys do frequently.
You should pick an attorney who is experienced in trial work, who also focuses their practice on criminal defense. Don’t risk significant jail time and severe fines with an attorney who is not as serious about your charges as you are.