At Byrnes Law Firm, we often field questions such as, “What makes a great defense attorney?” and “How do I find a defense lawyer that is trustworthy?” As one of the highest regarded and best criminal lawyers in St. Charles, MO, is well-qualified to answer this important question. Along with Bill’s input, the staff at Byrnes Law Firm have compiled a list detailing the top 5 traits you should look for when interviewing potential defense attorneys.
While we emphasize the importance of an attorney having extensive courtroom experience, there are other traits such as knowledge, trustworthiness, and personality that should also factor into your decision making.
#5. “Do you have flexible payment plans?”
This is the real world, and we understand that cost will be a deciding factor when it comes time to choose a defense attorney. You will have to weigh your legal costs with the potential losses you could face if you are found guilty of the charges against you, and/or you receive the maximum penalties under the law.
While public defenders are unfairly portrayed as unmotivated and inattentive, there are actually many great public defenders out there. But, remember: it’s not you that chooses your public defender, it’s the county or state.
Instead of settling for a public defender, find an attorney with flexible payment plans that you can pay over time.
#4. “How many cases have you won that are like mine?”
Would you be comfortable traveling with a pilot that has never flown a particular model of airplane? Likely not. The same goes for choosing legal representation. If you are charged with a DWI, drug charges, or assault, you will want an attorney that has a history of winning that type of case. During your initial consultation, ask the attorney this simple question: “How many cases similar to my own have you won in the past?”
#3. “What do you think the end result of my case will be?”
This is one of the best questions on our list. At your initial consultation, ask your potential attorney’s opinion on how they expect your case to unfold. Their answer will likely reveal their trustworthiness, their own legal abilities, and their level of preparedness. If their answer sounds too good to be true, then you may want to move on to the next candidate on your list of potential attorneys. Their response to this question should seem reasonable and presented to you in a way that you — assuming you are not a legal expert yourself — can understand.
A good defense attorney will not fill you with false hope, but provide you with a realistic view of how the case is likely to unfold.
#2. “What’s your experience?”
In defending cases that involve criminal charges, experience is one of the single most important factors that will decide that outcome of a case. With experience, attorneys come to understand the ins and outs of their local judicial system — things that cannot be taught at law school. An experienced criminal defense attorney has also built up a rapport with local prosecutors and judges. These types of relationships give defense attorneys some leverage in getting charges reduced or dropped.
As mentioned on the FindLaw® website, experience can also translate to valuable working relationships with prosecutors and judges. These types of relationships can translate to plea bargains, in which some of the biggest charges are dropped and/or your sentence is reduced in exchange for a guilty plea.
The duration of your initial consultation will likely be brief. You should view this time as a way to get a feel for how they conduct themselves and who they are as a person. You may have to “go with your gut” in deciding if this is a person you can trust to represent you. If you get the sense that a particular attorney seems untrustworthy, the judge, prosecutor, and jurors may also arrive at the same conclusion.
Go online and research potential defense attorneys. Narrow down your list of potential criminal lawyers by reading online reviews. You may also discover news articles about cases similar to your own.
#1. Ask yourself: “Does this lawyer listen to me?”
As you research the many criminal lawyers out there, you’ll want to find an attorney who is personable and will take the time to discuss all the details of the case. Sometimes, a seemingly minor detail can completely change the outcome of a criminal law case. Therefore, choosing an attorney that listens to clients is second only to the years of relevant experience they have representing clients in court.
During your initial consultation, pay attention to what the attorney is saying. Are they explaining the details of your case in a way you comprehend, or does it sound like they are using a bunch of legal jargon that they know you don’t understand?
Why Choose Byrnes Law Firm?
As a highly regarded criminal lawyer, Byrnes Law Firm has decades of experience in representing clients across numerous types of criminal offenses. Before you call us to schedule a free consultation, we invite you to go online and read through our Google reviews.