The lawyer you are looking for isn’t the same expert who handled your estate plan, helped you purchase your recent property, or who your uncle hired when he was involved in a vehicle accident. All these were civil lawyers. You need an experienced Rochester criminal attorney who can piece together substantial evidence and defend you in court.
Criminal vs. civil lawyers
Private criminal defense lawyers often practice on their own or in small law firms (partnerships) in a particular geographical setting. On the other hand, lawyers who handle civil cases usually congregate in corporate law firms with many branch offices in most cities.
There are many differences between a civil and criminal defense attorney. The most significant factor in differing revolves around the nature of their work. Most big-firm civil lawyers focus on representing companies that handle business activities across the country. Private criminal defense attorneys, on the other hand, represent people whose issues are somewhat local.
Besides, corporations represented by big-firm attorneys have a continual need for legal counsel and representation. However, individual criminal defendants are usually one-shot players with no recurring legal needs. Before hiring an attorney, make sure you know their area of specialization.
The lawyer’s experience with the crime charged
As a defendant, you should find a lawyer who has represented people charged with similar offenses. Note that the criminal law is complicated, and most attorneys specialize in specific types of offenses. For instance, you can find an attorney who specializes in drug-related offenses and another who’s excellent at handling white-collar crimes such as tax fraud.
It’s perfectly appropriate for you to inquire during the first meeting about the lawyer’s area of specialization and their experience in handling cases similar to the charges you are facing. You shouldn’t hire an attorney who refuses to discuss their experience or simply gives unrevealing or vague answers.
The personal factor
Your defense lawyer will be speaking for you. Regardless of how highly recommended an attorney might be, it’s crucial that he or she be a person with whom you’re personally comfortable. The recommended lawyer-client relationships are those in which the defendant or client is a partner in the decision-making process. Focus on finding a lawyer who sees you as a partner rather than a case file.
To find the right lawyer, ask yourself the following questions.
- Does the lawyer seem to be a person you can openly talk to and work with?
- Does he or she explain issues in a way that you can fully understand?
- Does the attorney show a personal concern and genuinely want to help?
- Does the attorney’s concern extend to your overall wellbeing rather than just the charges you are facing?
- Does the attorney appear to be someone who can engender trust in judges, prosecutors, and when necessary jurors?
The bottom line is, the specific criminal defense attorney you hire could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years in prison or jail. Therefore, make sure you choose the right lawyer.