No one wants or expects to need any kind of defense attorney but a lot of Americans do. Many of those people are not guilty but that does not stop them from serving time in prison. Every year, it is estimated that around 10,000 innocent people are convicted of one serious crime or another. Well over 300 convictions have been overturned using DNA evidence since 1989. It has been estimated that innocent people in the United States have served 3,944 years in prison. So if you have been arrested, say for theft, you need the best lawyer for theft defense that you can find. But how do you do that? How do you know the lawyer for theft that you hired is the best?
- Start by asking the people you know. If 10,000 innocent people are found guilty every year, imagine how many arrests there are when you factor in the guilty ones? They may not have a t-shirt that reads “I once hired an attempted murder defense lawyer” but the chances are pretty good that you know, or you know someone who knows, someone who used a defense attorney. Talk to the people you trust about this. You may not go with the same person but they may get you a starting off point.
- Get the right kind of lawyer. Doctors specialize and so do lawyers. If you need a lawyer for theft defense you do not want one that is mainly considered to be an assault attorney. You need someone who specializes or does a lot of theft cases. You should ask them how long they have practiced this kind of law and how much of their practice is theft cases. It matters little that they have practiced this kind of law for 20 years if they only do one case a decade.
- Talk to the lawyer for theft defense about their choice. Why did they choose to practice criminal law? Why do they take so many theft cases? You want to hire a lawyer that will work hard for you. They need to really fight for you, go to the mat for you. You do not want a lawyer for theft defense that does not really care about the outcome. They need to focus on you, not their golf game.
- Make sure the lawyer has decent experience in the courtroom. Most people do not realize this but the vast majority of cases are plea deals. Between 96 and 97% of all criminal cases are settled this way but if you do end up in court, you need the best lawyer for defense around in the courtroom.
- Try to get references. Law firms have testimonials on their website and that is good to read those, it even better to talk to former clients and see what they thought about the experience working with the law firm. Ask them if they got the results they wanted.
- Talk to a few different law firms. All law practices offer free first consultations. Take advantage of these. Write up a list of your questions and take your time. You are going to really want to get to know the lawyer for theft defense and feel completely comfortable with them. They do not have to be your best friend but you need to know that they care about you and your case. They should not put pressure on you to sign anything during this consultation.
- Ask who will be working on your case. Law firms hire a cadre of people. There will be more than one person working on your case, you should at least get to know who they are. Who will be available to answer your questions? You will have them. You may not be able to talk to the attorney who is handling your case every time you call but they should not be totally unavailable.
- Ask about their billing policy. Every law firm does this their own way. You need to go with a firm whose billing is totally transparent.
Being arrested for a criminal offense is a really stressful and awful experience. The right lawyer will make a difference in the case and can also help get you through the experience.