Wednesday, August 15, 2012
How to Hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney (Explained)
Being an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I meet lots people who are looking for a help with a criminal case. Many times, the need is urgent because someone in their family was just been arrested, or they hear that there is a warrant out for their arrest. In those circumstances, there can be almost a panic to hire a lawyer. So how do you do it?
First, and this may seem obvious but it is surprising how many times people miss it, make sure that the lawyer you are talking with handles criminal cases. Just because some attorney handled your divorce or the closing on your house does not mean that lawyer would do well in a criminal case. Nevertheless, one of the best places to start is with lawyers that you may know. Ask them who they would hire for the type of case.
This part is also important. Not all criminal defense lawyers handle all criminal cases. Federal law, for example, is generally dramatically different from state law. Make sure the lawyer can handle your type of case.
Second, should you find out the fee before you go to see the lawyer? That depends. If you are pressed for time or you know that you are going to hire a particular lawyer, it is a good idea. On the other hand, if you have some time, I would recommend seeing several lawyers. Law is an art, not a science, and there are several different ways to approach the same problem. You should go with a lawyer you are comfortable with. To know who that is, you should visit a few. You should also hire a lawyer whose direction or outlook is the same as yours. Stay away from lawyers that try to push you into a particular choice of action, such as pleading or trial, without knowing a great deal about the case.
Three, stay away from lawyers that promise really good results. Good results can happen, but even the best lawyers do not always get the results they want. The reality is there are three types of cases: cases easily won (acquittal), cases easily lost (conviction), and cases in the middle. Every client wants to think that their case can be easily won. That is not the case. Good lawyers will have higher winning percentages, all things being equal, of the cases in the middle. Cases easily lost are cases in which the evidence is rather strong and you might want to really consider a plea bargain. Some lawyers are better at trial than at negotiations. If you are not familiar with the evidence that will be presented against you, you should be prepared for all possibilities. Sometimes it is better to hire a lawyer who can negotiate a good deal for you rather than a fire-breathing trial monster. If the evidence is overwhelming, you may want someone who can minimize potential jail or prison time. A trial monster may not be such a person. On the other hand, you may decide that you are going to trial no matter what. In such a case, get the trial monster.
Fourth, if you do have some time and have been able to talk with several lawyers, you will most likely wind up with more than one lawyer you are considering. If that is the case, go with the lawyer that you felt the best about.
What You Can Do Now
You (or a family member or a friend) are about to go through a pretty traumatic and rough experience. While the tips I've given above will help you decide who is qualified, there is realistically no way I can tell you who you would be best hiring. You would do well to go through this experience with someone you get along with.
Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a FREE Consultation --- (612) 234-1165