When your future lays in the hands of a defense attorney you will want to make sure you find the right one. When it comes to hiring a qualified legal team to represent you and your case you want to make sure you are comfortable with hiring them.
Asking the right questions before hiring a defense attorney (or getting a second opinion if you’ve already spoken to one) is important. Our criminal defense team at Stechschulte Nell shares 6 questions to ask when interviewing an attorney to represent you.
1. Do you offer a free consultation?
There’s no better way to get to know your potential attorney than at a consultation. During a free consultation at Stechschulte Nell, we will:
- collect basic information about your case,
- discuss our attorneys’ qualifications,
- Recommend possible defense strategies related to your charges,
- talk about the action that can be taken, and
- go through the actual court process so you can understand how it all works.
At Stechschulte Nell we understand everyone has different needs and comfort levels—especially now. We make it easy to work with a lawyer and offer consultations via telephone, Skype or Facetime, and in-person.
2. How much will I be charged? What are your fees?
You weren’t budgeting to get arrested and needed top-notch legal defense. Before you hire a defense attorney you need to make sure you find out exactly how you will be paying your attorney—this is something you should not be blindsided by.
Additionally, if your attorney feels there is a good chance your case could go to trial, make sure you are aware that there are additional fees that you may be responsible for. Going to court may mean paying for additional services such as the filing of complaints, motions, and briefs, as well as paying experts to testify on your behalf.
At Stechschulte Nell we will review our fees and retainer agreement during the free consultation. We offer payment plans so your financial situation should never have to impact your ability to get the legal representation you need.
3. Who will be handling my case? How much experience do they have? And what are their education and professional credentials?
Unless you are working with a boutique law firm, like Stechschulte Nell, your case may bounce around a lot of different attorneys. This could be detrimental to your cause because no one attorney is giving your case their focus and time.
Make sure you know who will be handling your case. And that you’re comfortable with their experience and past history when it comes to handling cases that are similar to yours. What is their success rate at trial? How did they handle cases similar to yours in the past?
4. How accessible will my attorney be?
Being charged with a criminal offense is a very stressful time in your life; not only do you have a thousand questions, but you may also be losing sleep and constantly worried about your future.
You should be able to have a good working relationship with your attorney where you feel comfortable coming to them and where you can expect prompt feedback/response. Open communication and accessibility are vital.
Some questions to ask during your consultation:
- When are you able to contact your attorney and how long should you expect for a reply?
- Will you be given your attorney’s personal cell phone number?
- Will your attorney work around any work schedules you have? Can they meet with you in the evenings or on the weekend, if needed?
5. How will they approach and handle my case?
We understand you want to understand how your case is being handled. While no attorney can guarantee the outcome of the case, an experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to provide you with a clear defensive strategy and plan for how he or she will proceed with your case.
Have an idea (bearing in mind things may change as the case progresses) how your potential defense attorney will approach and handle your case before you hire them. Being on the same page as your attorney, helps your case be as successful as possible.
6. What are my legal options besides going to trial? How long will the process be?
Make sure before you hire a criminal defense attorney you understand what all your legal options are and how comfortable you are with each one. Knowing your legal options will also translate into potential time frames of how long the process will be.
Remember there is no way to predict or guarantee anything beforehand, but a veteran attorney will be able to give you an idea based on past cases and your unique circumstances.
Ready to Hire A Defense Attorney?
These are just a few of the questions you should consider when you hire your criminal defense attorney. Remember not every attorney may be the right one for you and your case. We want you to feel comfortable with us and that’s why our clients call us by our first names. We’re not Stechschulte Nell, we’re Ben and Amy.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal offense, you want to make sure you/they receive the best representation possible. Our mission as your attorneys is to help you receive a fair and fighting chance.
At our Tampa defense law firm, we see you as a person, not a criminal. We understand how important your future is. Our board-certified, former prosecutor understands both sides of the legal system. Call us at 813-280-1244 or schedule your free consultation. We would be proud to represent your case.