Facing criminal charges can strike terror into just about anyone's heart, and rightly so. Whether you actually committed the crime in question or not, the consequences of losing your case could include fines, prison time, or a combination of both. You know that you need professional representation from a skilled, experienced attorney—but how can you make sure that you get the most out of that attorney's criminal law services? Take a look at some smart strategies for optimizing your situation through various stages of your criminal case.
Selecting an Attorney
Your choice of attorney can make all the difference in your case's outcome, so make that first step the right one. Experience is one key factor to consider. The more criminal cases your attorney has faced and won, the better your odds of success may be (although no lawyer can guarantee a victory). As for expertise, make sure that your attorney handles not only criminal cases but your type of criminal case specifically. Even the most experienced DUI lawyer, for instance, won't help you evade an assault conviction as skillfully as a lawyer who usually handles violent crimes.
While you want to engage the best criminal law services you can get your hands on, you also need to know beforehand that you can afford those services. That's why your initial conversations with prospective attorneys should include fees, estimated costs, and payment options. Expect to pay more for an attorney who has extensive experience and/or a large support team. The type of case you're preparing will also affect your legal expenses. For example, a simple, low-level case that can be processed in a day's work may cost only $1,000, while a misdemeanor trial case can easily cost $3,000 or more. Some criminal attorneys bill by the hour, while others work on retainer or for a fixed per-case fee. The shorter and simpler your case promises to be, the more sense it makes to choose a lawyer who bills by the hour if at all possible.
Supplying Critical Information
Once you have chosen your attorney, the first thing you'll need to do is provide full data on your case. In addition to sitting down for a detailed intake interview with the attorney, you must also be ready to supply any and all documentation that might pertain to the case, from video records and emails to eyewitnesses' contact information and medical reports. Resist the urge to supply only those details that make you look good. Your attorney must work with every scrap of information you may have, including any details that may work against you, to prepare the most solid case possible. As new developments occur or any details change, you must update your attorney accordingly to prevent omissions or inaccuracies from sabotaging your case.
Developing a Case Strategy
As you and your criminal attorney go over the details and circumstances of your case, a few different possible strategies may make themselves apparent. If your case appears relatively weak, your attorney may urge you to plead guilty to a lesser crime as part of a carefully crafted agreement with the prosecution. If you have a strong alibi, your attorney may suggest that you deny the charge outright. If you did the crime but had a good reason for doing so, your attorney may suggest an "admit and explain" strategy that justifies your actions, at least to some extent. A homicide committed in self-defense, for instance, may be dismissed, while a homicide committed in the heat of anger may still carry criminal liability.
As you can see, communication with your criminal attorney, from initial selection to courtroom strategy, is perhaps the most crucial single element in getting the most out of your criminal law services. Reach out to firms like the Johnson Motinger Greenwood Law Firm to ask about these and other essential points before you move ahead with your defense. You'll be glad you did.