If you are accused of a crime or you are under investigation for a crime, you have the right to legal counsel. It does not matter whether you face domestic abuse allegations, drug crimes, DUI charges, or weapons charges.
The United States Constitution guarantees you the right to consult with a criminal defense lawyer. Never give up or waive your right to counsel when facing criminal charges in Kentucky.
Always exercise your right to consult with a lawyer before answering questions or giving the police a statement.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Regardless of whether you have dealt with the criminal justice system before now, it is in your best interest to have a criminal defense attorney to handle your case.
A criminal defense lawyer understands the charges against you, the legal requirements the state must meet for a guilty verdict, and how juries and courts in this jurisdiction respond to charges and cases similar to your case.
Your criminal defense lawyer investigates the charges against you and examines your arrest. If your civil rights were violated, your attorney might be able to have the charges dismissed. In the alternative, the court might throw out key evidence that was obtained in violation of your civil rights.
If the evidence against you is overwhelming, your lawyer might discuss a plea bargain. Prosecutors are often more willing to negotiate fair plea agreements with lawyers than with defendants.
The prosecutor understands that the lawyer is knowledgeable of the law and any weaknesses in the state’s case. He also knows that the lawyer could take the case to trial, and the prosecutor could lose the case because there are no guarantees in court. Therefore, the prosecutor could be more willing to agree to a fair plea deal to avoid trial and close the file.
The above reasons for hiring a criminal defense lawyer are valid and important. However, an often-overlooked reason to hire a defense lawyer is that you need someone on your side that you can trust. You need a person who fights for your best interests as aggressively as the state fights to convict you.
A criminal defense lawyer provides guidance and support throughout your case, in addition to sound legal advice. When you face serious criminal penalties for an alleged crime, you need a legal advocate in your corner who will not stop until every potential defense is explored. You want your attorney to exhaust every legal technicality to get you out of jail.
Choosing the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle Your Case
How do you know which criminal defense lawyer is the best lawyer to handle your case? You do not want to hire the wrong attorney, especially if your criminal case involves the potential for lengthy prison terms, expensive fines, and other penalties.
Some signs that indicate you could have hired a bad criminal defense lawyer include:
- Your attorney does not contact you or return your calls after the initial visit
- The lawyer displays unprofessional behavior, such as being late to court hearings or being rude to you and other individuals in the courtroom
- Your lawyer has little to no experience handling criminal matters similar to the charges against you
- The law firm does not have a support staff or resources to handle the volume of cases it takes
- Your criminal attorney makes huge promises or guarantees, especially without knowing the evidence against you or all of the facts of your case
- An attorney does not show any interest in your case and does not listen to you when you talk or try to express concerns
- Your lawyer pushes you to agree to a plea deal and has a reputation for avoiding court
- The attorney has minimal trial experience
- The lawyer’s law license has been revoked or suspended in the past
- Your attorney refuses to explain legal concepts or his defense strategy for your case
- The attorney’s billing system is confusing or vague
- Your attorney shows very little respect for you and other clients
If you are unsure whether an attorney is a good fit for your case, ask trusted friends and family members for recommendations. If you know someone who has used the attorney in the past, reach out to that person for a reference. It can also help to research the attorney online to read reviews from past clients.
How to Avoid Hiring a Bad Criminal Defense Attorney Again?
If you are searching for a good criminal defense lawyer, it helps to know the signs of a good criminal defense attorney. Some signs that you should search for when hiring a lawyer to handle your criminal matter include:
The Attorney Understands the Law and Your Rights
A good criminal defense lawyer should be able to explain your legal rights and the charges against you in terms that you understand. He should understand the legal requirements the state must prove to obtain a conviction. He should also understand the rules of evidence and the rules of court.
The Attorney Cares About His Client
A good criminal defense attorney truly cares about the well-being and future of his client. The lawyer is willing to fight for his client’s best interest regardless of the severity of the criminal charges or the complexity of the criminal case.
Your lawyer should be willing to pull out all stops and commit sufficient resources to ensure that you receive a fair trial. Good criminal defense lawyers never stop working for a client until all legal avenues for a defense are exhausted.
Good criminal defense lawyers do not focus on whether you are guilty or innocent. They focus on protecting your legal rights. They leave no stone unturned as they investigate and analyze every aspect of your criminal case.
Good Criminal Defense Lawyers Communicate with Their Clients
Your attorney should keep you informed about the progress of your case. You should receive updates, and you should be consulted on all significant decisions that impact your criminal case. If you have a question or concern, you should be able to contact your lawyer and receive a prompt reply.
Also, your attorney should be an effective listener. Your attorney needs to listen to you and other individuals involved in your case to learn as much as possible about what happened. Listening is just as important as explaining things to you.
The Lawyer has an Excellent Reputation Among Peers and Court Personnel
A good criminal defense attorney is respected within the legal community. If other attorneys, judges, and court personnel would refer their friends and family members to the attorney, that is a sign that you hired a good criminal defense lawyer.
Keeping Searching Until You Find a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer
You could be facing serious criminal penalties for a conviction. Your future is at stake. Do not trust your defense to the first attorney you call.
Meet with several attorneys to learn about their qualifications. Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as necessary to determine if you want to hire a specific criminal defense lawyer. You deserve not only a good criminal defense lawyer, but you also deserve a lawyer who truly cares about what happens to you.