What qualities should I look for in a criminal defense attorney? 55 Answers as of July 08, 2013

I need a highly qualified criminal defense attorney for a wrongul accusation of theft against me. They have falsified tesimony against me. How can I get the best help?

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Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
You should inquire regarding the attorney's experience, particularly in cases similar to your own. You should discuss the plan for attacking the charges. Some attorneys are aggressive in that regard which is preferable to those that are more passive. Ultimately, your personality must also mesh with your counsel. The last thing you will want is to have conflict with the prosecutor and your own counsel.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/1/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
The best way to find a good criminal defense is, just as with any kind of attorney, by referral from a friend or another attorney who is familiar with the attorneys work. If that is not possible you should attempt to find a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California. While this not a guarantee that you will feel that that attorney is the right person for you, it is still a guarantee of experience and reputation in that he or she has achieved that status from his own profession. In addition you can always go to local bar association Lawyer Referral Service. These services also screen the attorneys to whom they provide cases for basic experience in the area. The worst way to find an attorney is from the jail mail that one receives after an arrest. These attorneys merely pay someone for access to this information and appears the only way they get clients, not a good recommendation. Finally, with regard to DUIs I would stay away from most DUI specialists who are often nothing more than high volume mills who take discount retainers and do little more than plead you guilty at the earliest opportunity without investigating the case thoroughly. However you select should be someone with whom you fee comfortable, can talk to and whom you can trust.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/31/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
Look for an attorney who regularly practices in the Court in which you are charged and has practiced in the field of criminal law for a number of years.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/31/2011
Harrison & Harrison
Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
I see this question on a weekly basis and I hesitate to respond because no two lawyers are going to answer the question the same way. However, almost all of us would agree that there are things you should look for and things you should not. Things to look for: Does this person have experience,as a defense lawyer, a prosecutor, and/or both? If a person understands how to make a case, he also will understand how to attack it. Are they a member of bar groups that are related to criminal defense? Are they active in those organizations?These are the way we exchange ideas and learn the art and craft of lawyering. Think of it this way; would you let a dentist do your brain surgery? No. So why would you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your DUI? Do other lawyers recommend this person? More than most any other field of the law, criminal defense attorney see each other at work in the courtroom. Do you and the lawyer get along? Do you feel comfortable letting this person represent you? The ability to communicate with your attorney and trust their advice is crucial to the whole attorney-client relationship. That means you need to talk to the lawyer in person before you choose. Does this lawyer practice in the area where your case is? Some courts are biased in favor of local lawyers or against attorneys from a major city. One things that is not important: Win-loss record. Win/loss claims are worthless in criminal defense. If the attorney brags about his/her win-loss politely say goodbye and go somewhere else.Criminal defense isn't baseball. Being a criminal defense lawyer is more like playing poker; you can be very good at the game, but winning or losing a particular hand depends on the cards you're dealt.Some of the best criminal defense lawyers I know have terrible win/loss records (assuming they bothered to keep such things) because they take the tough, hard to win cases. Besides, how do you define a win? A not guilty verdict?Sure. Getting the results of an illegal search thrown out?Of course. How about negotiating a straight probation sentence for a client that is facing several years in jail? That gives the client a second chance to clean up his act. That's a win, too. Getting your client a life sentence when the state wants to kill him? That's a very big win for a defense lawyer. I hope this helps.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/31/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Look for an attorney that regularly practices in this area. Ask him or her how many cases of this type have they handles; how many trials have they had; what type of success have they had. Beware of an attorney who tells you what you WANT to hear rather than what you NEED to hear. Sometimes the particular facts of the case are such that there is not a whole lot an attorney can do, no matter how good they are. Do not go into a matter with unrealistic expectations. Be open mined and receptive of what you are being told. especially if multiple attorneys tell you the same thing. There a re many people who will shop for an attorney until they find one who is willing to tell them what they want to hear. This is not a good way to retain an attorney because no one wins, except maybe the attorney in that he/she gets paid for results that he/she cannot obtain for you. Be open minded and willing to listen. Once you do this, look for an attorney with whom you feel comfortable.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    The best and most effective way to find the attorney you want is to have an in-person consultation. This way, you can see if their personality is what you're looking for in an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Hiring a professional such as a lawyer is a very personal decision. You could ask for a referral from someone you trust and who has had personal experience with an attorney. You could just call several and talk to them about your case, then choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    The bottom line is you should speak to the attorney you are considering and get a feel as to whether you feel you can trust their advice.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, you can talk to family members and friends for referrals, call the bar association for your county for referrals, go on the internet and research that attorney, etc.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    This is a question I see often. Picking an attorney is tricky business. First, I suggest that you consult with at least two attorneys. Ask questions. Make sure you understand how the attorney would go about preparing your defense. Of course it is nice to know the attorney's education and prior work experience, memberships in professional organizations, etc. But, if I could only know one thing about a potential defense attorney it would be how many criminal jury trials he or she has done as a defense attorney. There are very many so-called defense attorneys that advertise very heavily in the metro-Atlanta area who brag about their time as prosecutors or part-time judges. That means nothing to me. There are a host of defense attorneys who never take cases to jury trials. Where the rubber meets the road in criminal defense is representing defendants through the jury trial process. Experience as a judge or prosecutor is all well and good, but nothing prepares a defense attorney as well as the experience of defending (not prosecuting) people in jury (not bench) trials. That is my humble opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Try to find someone with relevant experience and someone that you feel like you can talk to openly.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    I am a retired police officer and do a substantial amount of criminal defense. You should consider retaining our office.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Criminal defense attorneys don't just get out of law school. Look for someone who has at last 15 years in defense practice, I have over 20 years as a defense attorney. Do they belong to the any local and national groups. I belong to the Nebraska Association of Criminal Defense lawyer, the National association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the National College of DUI defense. Ask them how many cases they tried this year (I've tried 2 jury trials and won 1; 4 court trials and won 3). How many have they tried in their career? I have over 100 jury and about 500 bench trials with about an 85% success rate. I would never hire a former prosecutor to handle my case, I just don't believe they can be trusted. If you think it costs a lot to hire a professional, wait until you see what it will cost you to hire an amateur.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    A criminal defense attorney should be experienced in criminal law. A significant part of his/her practice should be devoted to ciminal defense. he attorney should also be very capable in a courtroom. You may also want to see what kind of history the attorney has as far as taking cases to trial versus pleading them out. Recommendations from friends and family may also be helpful in making a selection.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    The main thing to look for is the experience level of the attorney (consult the attorney's website or get referrals from people you know), the areas the attorney has experience with (that it corresponds to what you are charged with) and then overall how responsive the attorney is to answering questions and the like. You can check with your local bar association which may have a lawyer referral service that can give you and idea that the attorney you seek is qualified enough to handle your case. Your comfort level with the attorney enough to confide in the attorney is very important.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    I suggest that you rely on recommendations or contact. Several lawyers through the Internet or phone book and interview them. Then go with your gut.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I am a former state and federal prosecutor who has been fortunate to have tried some of the largest, most complex criminal cases in Goergia history.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    My suggestion is to look for an attorney with experience. Set up interviews and ask a lot of questions.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    The internet can be a wonderful start for your search. There are many sites with reviews of attorneys and ratings.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Ask any friends or family if they know who is a good criminal lawyer. Check for someone who has experience in the the type of case that you are being charged with. Also, ask any court reporters or court clerks since they see criminal lawyers on a daily basis.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    They know the law, have an idea of any defense, is willing to take a case to trial if need be, and they are honest with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You should be looking for someone experienced in criminal law and who practices in the court where your case is. Talk to attorneys in the area and see who is most experienced, not just who says that they are experienced. If you have any difficulties, you may contact the bar association in the county where your case is. They typically maintain a list of attorneys who practice in certain areas of law.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    This question comes up again and again. First of all, the most important thing is to hire an attorney that you can trust.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    The state and local bars have lawyer referral services. The lawyers are screened and must meet certain criteria to be on the list. There are also legal publications like California Lawyer magazine that compile annual lists of the top attorneys in particular fields.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    That would depend on what city you are in, what your budget is, and whether or not you intent to go to trial. If you are in Manhattan and plan to retain an attorney to try a felony case you will probably pay more than $10,000. If you want a lawyer with more than 20 years experience who has connections with the police, prosecutors, and is well known and respected by the judges you are going to pay $300 per hour or more and they will expect most of it up front. Google criminal lawyers in New York City or Criminal lawyers in Buffalo, or whatever your city is and call the 1o that appear to be qualified from what you can learn from their websites. Do not hire a big firm, they will be interested in billable hours and are twice as expensive as boutique firms, partnerships of two lawyers, or sole practitioners. The sole practitioners will usually be more open to flat rate fees, payment plans, and reduced fees. You have to play the top 5 choices against each other to almost bid for a low flat rate like $5,000 to try the case if possible. Do not ask your parents, friends, or another lawyer for a referral. The lawyer will send you to his friend and your parents probably have no clue who the top lawyers are. Some of the best criminal lawyers are former prosecutors and former judges who have connections with the police and prosecutors that can be beneficial. Hire the one who has the best personality, clothes, office, and reputation in the community. You should even ask the court officers in the court you are in about the reputation of your top choices.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC | Daniel Hajji
    Start with doing your own research. Google is a good start.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    Call me at the office listed below. If we cannot help you, I can refer you to a competent attorney. The best referrals usually come from either attorneys or family and friends. Thanks for the inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You want to hire someone who will represent you from start to finish. Most attorneys will take your money and pass your case down to someone else, or reassigned or contracted out. As such, a different attorney goes to court for you every time, depending on who is available, and every time you call you find yourself speaking to a different person. Remember, no matter how good a lawyer is, if he/she isn't the one handling the case, it is useless.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    One way: Ask the attorney how many trials he has actually completed with jury verdicts and what the verdicts were.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Look for a criminal defense attorney that has lots of trial experience, is easy to communicate with and one you believe will fight for you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    July 28, 2011 It would be very difficult to advise you on how to select an attorney to represent you. The attorneys that do the best are not always the most experienced or the smartest but the ones who show that they care the most.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    In general, you want a lawyer with whom you can converse easily. The lawyer needs to have experience in trials and be ready to take your case to trial if necessary. However, you do not want a lawyer who just wants trial experience and will go to trial on your case even if it is not in your best interest. The lawyer needs to be respected by peers and have satisfied clients Remember that most lawyers do not write the content of the websites so even if their websites look good, that does not mean anything. It means that they spent a lot of money on it. You do not want a lawyer who sends out letters soliciting business. If they are in such need, then they do not have a good referral base and they probably won't give you and your case the attention it needs.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    Firstly, do some research on the attorneys that specialize in the criminal charges for which have been filed against you. Do the attorneys have experience in the very court where the matter is pending? Next, call for an appointment, and meet the attorney at his office. Some attorneys have no office, and work out of their pocket. These attorneys only meet people in libraries, or hallways, so beware. When you meet the attorney do not be afraid to ask questions. Does the attorney appear confident to you, and prepared to handle your case. Finally, what is the reputation of the attorney, and was he referred to you by a reputable party.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Contact a few and feel out who you'd have a better relationship with. If you're in NYC call us...
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    I believe you want someone with experience, who tries cases, has a great reputation, stays up on the latest trial techniques and is passionate about their profession. You should interview the prospective lawyer and decide if you would want that person to be your representative. I also believe you should look for a lawyer that is practicing exclusively criminal law, a member of national and state organizations dedicated to lawyer education and improvement. Finally, ask around and find out who in your area wins cases. Good luck,
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    In my opinion, there is no substitute for felony trial experience. I would not hire someone unless they have tried 20 felony cases to verdict as a defense attorney. Michael Morgan
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If you can, talk to friends and relatives. See if anyone has had a similar situation and see who they would call. If you get recommendations, do some research on the lawyers they recommend.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Simply by consulting with several ad having some questions for them regarding items your interested in knowing. (I.e., experience, case load, fees, who appears in court with you, etc)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC | James Christie
    Find someone with experience handling the type of charges you are facing. Someone with a good deal of trial experience is essential, even if your case doesn't go to trial. Prosecutors know which defense attorneys aren't afraid of trial, and tend to be more accommodating to them as a result. Most importantly, find someone you trust. There is no shortage of mediocre criminal practitioners out there, so make sure you speak to a few different lawyers before making a decision. Run away from anyone who claims they can promise a certain outcome, as there are no crystal balls in this field, and each case presents unique facts.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can locate an attorney by seeking referral from friends, family, etc., or formal referral through Lawyer Referral Service in your area, or internet research. Youre looking for someone you feel comfortable with, who will educate you about realistic expectations instead of wishful thinking, who is experienced in criminal defense, who you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    Choosing a good criminal defense attorney is a difficult decision. After all, its not like you can ask your friend or neighbor who they hired for their last felony! That said, you can look them up on a site like AVVO, although you should be careful not to put too much stock in their ratings as they can be arbitrary and misleading. If you know a non-criminal defense attorney you can trust, asking them for a suggestion might be a good first step. There are also questions you can ask the prospective attorney to help you make a sound decision. How much experience and specialized training do they have in criminal defense? Or for the particular charge you are facing? Are they willing to take a case to trial when necessary? Do they have a good working knowledge relationship with the judges and prosecutors in the jurisdiction where you are charged? Finally, be sure you have a frank conversation with the attorney so you know he or she is someone you are comfortable with entrusting so important a task as defending a criminal charge. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    It is important that individuals seeking legal representation are careful consumers. Research the background of any attorney your are considering for representation. Search websites and ask friends and other professionals for recommendations. Interview the attorney. Find out how many years of experience he or she has, how many similar types of cases he or she had handled and with what result. Even within criminal law, there are many types of cases of different degrees of complexity. Ask who you will be dealing with in the firm if there are several attorneys. Experience, aggressiveness and communication are important factors, as well as that attorneys knowledge of the court, judges and prosecutors involved with the case. Call me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    The Lee Law Firm
    The Lee Law Firm | Kenneth Parks Gober
    If you are in the Austin area “Feel free to contact me via
    my profile page for more information on this legal issue
    ”Thank you.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Look up his or her disciplinary record at the state bar site. I would also talk to court reporters, bailiffs and other court personnel who see the lawyers every day. They know best.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi | Rodney Nosratabadi
    The right defense attorney is one that will tell you about the possible outcomes and doesn't try to make a sale. The factors you need to consider in retaining a capable counsel are limitless.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Ask friends, family, etc. for a good lawyer. Then interview 2 or 3 and see who you feel best about.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Try to see if they they have a website or qualifications up on the net. Ask them about their qualifications and experience in the particular jurisdiction of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A.
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A. | Bruce H. Lehr
    I would recommend someone who is a former prosecutor, and someone who, if you were on a jury, you would feel inclined to listen to and believe.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    That he is licensed by the state of Michigan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Brown Law Offices
    Brown Law Offices | Philip H. Brown
    You should retain an attorney who exclusively practices criminal law and has substantial experience in white collar crime cases. You should also seek an attorney who has experience as a both a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Where to begin ... Look for an attorney with a practice limited to, or substantially devoted to, criminal defense as he/she is likely to have more expertise than one who also does probate, family law etc. Look at how long they have been practicing law and how many criminal trials they do each year. Ask about their theories of defense on your case. It is also important that you "connect" with the attorney and feel comfortable communicating and having this attorney handle your case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
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