If you’ve been charged with assault, you need a
lawyer, but you probably knew that already. But how do you know which lawyer to hire and which questions to ask when you inquire about their background? Most people who are hiring an attorney are doing so for the first time, so it can be a little intimidating, but all lawyers are not created equal.
You will need a criminal defense attorney who has the necessary skills and experience to develop the appropriate defense strategy. In order to do this effectively, he or she must first earn your trust. This article will help you thoroughly understand what goes into hiring an assault lawyer.
The first step is to get to know the attorney at an in-person meeting. Your job at this initial meeting is to learn as much as you can about their experience in defending people in your situation. The attorney should inform you of your options and discuss their fees openly to determine if you can afford their services.
How to evaluate an assault lawyer:
By the time you face the prosecutor in court and make a plea pertaining to their accusations of assault, your lawyer should already be very familiar with the charges against you but he or she should be familiar with the prosecutor as well.
- How long has the lawyer been practicing criminal defense law?
- Has he or she worked on similar cases to yours? How many and how recently? What was the outcome?
- How often does the attorney appear in the courthouse where your hearing will be held?
Does he or she know the prosecutor who is bringing the charges against you? If asked, what would this prosecutor say about the attorney’s courtroom skills?
If the assault lawyer has practiced other areas of law, what kind of law was it? Is the firm devoted primarily to criminal defense or do they specialize in another type of law?
Ideally, an assault lawyer or criminal defense lawyer should have extensive experience with representing clients like you. He or she should have an excellent reputation within the legal community and at the courthouse where your case will be heard.
Once you hire a lawyer to defend you against charges of assault, you will need to provide him or her with as much information about the situation as possible. Expect to fill out questionnaires and listen carefully to your attorney’s advice. Ultimately your strategy will come down to three options:
- Plead guilty and face the recommended sentencing
- Plea bargain for a lesser charge with lighter sentencing
- Plead not guilty and take your chances with a trial
The strategy your assault lawyer recommends will be based on the evidence against you and the charges you face, but the decision about which direction to go will ultimately be in your hands. If you don’t agree with the strategy or you feel the attorney lacks a command of criminal law, it is not too late to switch lawyers. Remember, when hiring a lawyer for an assault charge, your choice could determine your destiny.