If you are charged with a criminal offense, you are likely facing a serious amount of consequences. For instance, a first misdemeanor DUI conviction in California can include up to $3,600 in fines and penalty assessments, with an additional six months imprisonment in a county jail and a six month suspension of drivers license. DUI consequences can be difficult and repeated DUIs can be devastating.
With these kinds of consequences for committing a criminal offense, it’s important to understand the legal avenues available to you to reduce the consequences or to prove your innocence altogether. While defending yourself is an option, the convoluted waters of the legal system are often difficult to navigate. How to find an attorney then proves paramount.
According to statistics:
- Over 1.4 million are arrested for their first DUI offense each year.
- In 2013, over 11 million people were arrested, with 1.5 million being drug offenses.
- At the end of 2012, around 4.8 million adults were on probation.
And being wrongfully convicted is not as rare as you think.
- According to a survey of 188 individuals in the criminal justice system, 10,000 people may be wrongfully convicted each year.
- More than 50% of wrongful conviction cases are a result of incorrect eyewitness identification.
- An additional 11% are due to perjury.
The following three items hope to answer the questions of What Is A Criminal Defense Lawyer and How to Choose an Attorney successfully.
Experience. Not all attorneys practice the same type of law. Some may be a family law attorney while others may be a criminal defense attorney. The law each attorney practices will give you an indicator if they are right for you. A criminal defense attorney represents individuals charged with a criminal offense. This representation can mean in court as well as bargaining for a plea deal.
Track record. Similar to experience, an attorney’s track record is another way to find an attorney. A track record for an attorney can be with cases won and lost, though it can also mean how many times they have struck a good plea deal for defendants. Finding one that has the track record you want is an important part of the process. Keep in mind that some may take on more difficult cases than others however.
Education. Not all law schools are made equal and while good lawyers can come from sub-par law schools and vice-versa, do some research if possible to see if the lawyer you’re thinking about choosing has come from a law school that is reputable. In particular, if you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, look into that program within the law school to see if the program gives you confidence in that attorney.
When you try to find an attorney, consider also communication and availability. You may want to find another criminal defense attorney if he or she is not paying you the time you think you deserve.