How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need a lawyer with experience, knowledge, compassion, and skill to navigate the criminal justice system. Your choice of criminal defense lawyer may be one of the most crucial decisions you make in your case. So, how do you choose the right one? Understanding your circumstances and looking for specific qualities can help you decide how to choose a criminal defense lawyer that meets your needs.

Understanding the Gravity of Your Situation

The first step toward knowing how to find the right criminal defense attorney is to recognize how serious your situation is. If you are the subject of an investigation or facing criminal charges, your rights and liberty may be at stake. Depending on the crime, the consequences of a criminal conviction may involve hefty fines or a lengthy prison sentence. Furthermore, you will have a permanent criminal record that may hinder your ability to find employment or rent a home. You may also face repercussions in your personal life and community. This is why finding an experienced defense attorney who can fight for your freedom is vital.

Why Local Experience Matters

When choosing a criminal defense attorney, working with someone with experience in the jurisdiction where you face charges is critical. A local attorney will have working relationships with prosecutors, judges, and other court officials in New Jersey. This familiarity can help your attorney understand what kinds of negotiations may be possible and the types of defenses and arguments that will work in each court. Furthermore, a criminal defense attorney with local experience will be deeply familiar with state and local laws, including any nuances or discrepancies in the law that could be used to your advantage. 

Evaluating Knowledge and Track Record

Looking at a potential defense attorney’s track record is another critical step when deciding who to hire. You should look at previous cases they have handled to ensure they have experience working with people who have faced charges like yours. If you see that they have succeeded with similar cases, you will feel more confident that they can assist you.

Personal Comfort and Trust

What does a criminal defense lawyer do? The best attorneys aren’t just the ones who understand criminal law and know how to litigate. These qualities are important, but an excellent legal professional will also have great people skills and know how to make clients comfortable. Try to find someone with a stellar reputation among their legal peers and throughout the community. 

Transparent Communication and Fees

With so much at stake, you will want to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is best equipped to handle your defense. However, you might be nervous about whether you can afford your attorney of choice. So, how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost? The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the nature of the charges against you, the expected length of time your case will take, and the willingness of prosecutors to negotiate. 

However, regardless of these factors, your potential defense attorney should be transparent about their fee structure and how much they expect a case like yours to cost. In general, your lawyer should communicate clearly and openly. If you feel confident that they will be frank about their approach and your situation, you can rest assured that they won’t leave you in the dark at critical moments in your case.

Seeking Recommendations and Reviews

One of the best ways of finding an experienced criminal defense attorney is to seek recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have worked with effective lawyers. You can ask them about their experiences, and they can help you determine whether their attorney will be a good fit for you.

If you do not know anyone with any recommendations, you can look at the online reviews of a potential local or federal criminal defense lawyer. Find a lawyer with multiple five-star reviews and read the testimonials on their website. 

First Impressions and Initial Consultations

Many people feel intimidated when they talk to lawyers. However, the right attorney will be approachable and put you at ease. When you meet with a potential attorney, consider how you feel around them. Do they help you feel confident in your case? Can you trust them? Do you think they trust you? These questions are important when you enter into any working relationship, and they are vital when you are looking for an attorney to mount a vigorous defense on your behalf. 

Accessibility and Open Lines of Communication

If you face serious criminal charges in New Jersey, you may need to contact your defense attorney immediately. As such, you must find a lawyer who is available and accessible. If a potential attorney does not have open lines of communication at the start, you may have trouble communicating with them at critical times in your case. 

Contact Our NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer to Learn More

If you face criminal charges, taking steps to safeguard your future might feel overwhelming. However, you don’t have to face this difficult time alone. You can protect your rights and freedoms with the right criminal defense attorney. 

The experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law understand the challenges you are up against, and we can help put your mind at ease. Our firm has a long track record of achieving successful results, including dismissal of cases and reduced sentences with no or minimal jail time. We work with clients facing various criminal offenses throughout Mercer, Monmouth, and Somerset counties. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation with our criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights. We can review your situation and determine the best defense strategies for your case.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.