If you've recently been charged with crime - or are the subject of a criminal investigation - you probably have some questions ---- lots and lots of questions. Here is a little insight into a few things you need to know as you look for an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
Should I Say Anything to the Police Before Hiring a Lawyer?
If you are suspected of a crime or have been arrested, one of the most important things to do - say as little as possible. Be respectful to the authorities, but do not put yourself in at risk by providing information that may be used against you. Contact a criminal defense attorney a soon as possible.
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Before Seeking Help from a Bail Bondsmen?
After a friend or a loved one has been arrested, often the first thought is to get the person out of custody or jail. Many people turn to a bail-bondsman,. Typically, decisions are made it "in the moment": fear and panic may play a role is the decision making process - but first taking the time to seek criminal defense help from an experienced attorney instead of posting bond immediately has several advantages:
Posting a bond may be a waste of money. An attorney can advise you about the severity of the charge. For some cases, a person who has been arrested may be released on their own recognizance as soon as they get to court (often the morning after an arrest).
An experienced Minnesota Criminal Attorney may be able to negotiate the amount of bond in court. It is possible and often likely that the bond amount can be reduced by the attorney's negotiating skill with the DA and Judge.
What Should I Consider When Calling and Comparing Criminal Defense Attorneys?
Although bondsmen are not allowed to recommend a specific Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, they can have business cards present at their offices - some people call these attorneys. Other people will look at the phone book or search for an attorney online. One of the best ways to find an attorney is by personal connection, such a recommendation from a friend or relative. It is always a good idea, as with any service, to examine your options and speak with at least 3 attorneys prior to selecting representation.
When peaking with a criminal defense attorney of the phone you can get a feel for their:
- Personality, professionalism, and demeanor
- Their level of experience, as an attorney and with criminal cases
- Responsiveness and timing in regards to your call
- Sincerity (are they just eager to your money?)
- Level of personal interaction (will other attorneys or staff handle your case?
How Do Pricing and Fees Work?
Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys typically work in flat-fee arrangements and require an upfront payment (retainer) to begin working on your case. Many attorneys take credit cards and offer payment plans. In comparing prices it is important to take into account that there is a wide range of quotes that you may receive on even a simple matter such as a first Drunk Driving citation.
The vast majority would charge between $1500 and $4000 for a first time DWI with $2100 being an average amount. But take note, it doesn't mean you are getting more for your money - the amount of work required for your case will depend on many factors - including the facts and substance of your arrest and the evidence against you.
What Should I Consider When Meeting with A Criminal Defense Attorney?
The first time you meet in with an attorney, whether in court, custody, or at their office. Just as in your phone call, is important that you both ask questions. During the meeting assess your comfort level with the attorney.
The things you want to look for and questions you should ask:
- Do you and your attorney seem to get along?
- Do you feel comfortable with this person representing you?
- If this person walked into court, do you think people in a jury would respect them?
- Do they speak well?
- Are they well groomed?
- Do they seem to a have a knowledge and understanding of the law?
- Can they easily explain the law as it applies to your case?
- Do you feel you can trust them?
- Do they have the level of experience you need?
- Have they practiced in the court that is handling your case?
- Do they make promises to you that seem unusual? For example, "I know the prosecutor there". (Relationships such as in the prior example may give you more comfort, but generally in Minnesota courts this will not make a difference in how your case is handled.)
Your lawyer should have many questions for you. Their interest in your case is very important to the final outcome. Without proper information, the most beneficial actions and best possible outcome cannot be achieved.
What Can You Do Now?
You can educate yourself on this process - but a lot of the learning is going to be done in the doing. To learn how my approach to criminal defense can benefit you, contact the Rolloff Law Office to schedule your free consultation. Call today: (612) 234-1165.