The Why and How of Selecting A Criminal Lawyer

Being accused of a crime can mean a small fine or short jail term, or it can be a matter of life and death for the defendant. It can also negatively impact the social life of a person. The seriousness of the accusations and the prescribed punishments if found guilty make the services of criminal defense lawyers invaluable.

Criminal defense lawyers are legal professionals whose work is to represent defendants who are accused of crimes in court. They have gone through years of training and understand the intricacies of criminal defense. They help their clients by investigating cases, interviewing witnesses, researching laws, building a defense strategy, negotiating plea bargains, filing and arguing motions and appeals, and represent the client in different hearings. Because of the possible consequences that could arise from the cases filed in court, it is important to find the best criminal lawyer. Here are things that you should consider.

Basic Qualifications

This encompasses experience, education and licensing. A criminal defense lawyer must have completed law school and obtained a degree. On top of that s/he must have passed the state’s bar exam, which a requirement for lawyers to practice law. The state’s certification procedures, which the lawyer must have gone through provides third party verification and validation of the lawyer’s qualification. Ask for evidence of the lawyer’s experience and your state’s authorization for the lawyer to practice.

The nature of experience that the lawyer possesses is also important. If you have been charged with white collar crimes, you should pick a lawyer who has handled such cases before. Similarly, if you are accused of committing a capital crime, a lawyer who has experience in handling a similar case would be a better pick. Try to find out how many of the cases s/he has actually worn.


As you check the lawyer’s experience, don’t forget to scrutinize their reputation as well. Ask for references and follow up on it. It is even better if you can find information about the lawyer from your state bar and colleagues. These will provide useful information on the lawyer’s work and character.


This is an important factor to consider as you look for a lawyer, especially if you don’t have a lot of money at your disposal. You need one with the best qualifications to defend you yet whom you can afford to pay. The price each lawyer charges vary based on a number of factors detailed in You must, therefore, ask about the lawyer’s terms of payment. Find out how much they charge in attorney fees and retainers and what his/her payment plan is.

Other qualities

During your first call and consultation meeting, it is important to give the basic details of the case and asks relevant questions. During this session, you should also look out desirable qualities and those that you don’t feel comfortable with. A good criminal defense lawyer should communicate with you well, show aggressiveness, confidence and show concern for your case and the outcome. Integrity is also important and should feature in your selection criteria.

The criminal defense lawyer you hire can make or break your case. You, therefore, must do you due diligence, select the best lawyer you can find and one you’re comfortable with then do as s/he instructs in order to improve your chances of winning.