If you think you know everything you need to know about hiring a criminal defense attorney, you are probably wrong. Here are three common criminal defense attorney myths.
Myth #1: The only work an attorney does is in court.
Most of the work I do is outside of trial. I spend many hours preparing for trial for each hour I spend on trial. A good criminal defense attorney will spend a great deal of time reading police reports, interviewing witness, doing legal research, writing motions, going to crime scenes, viewing evidence at police stations, sending subpoenas, and a number of other things.
Myth #2: All criminal defense attorneys are equal.
I have encountered many potential clients who ask me to lower my fee to match some other lawyer. I refuse to do this, because I will not compromise on my professional standards. I perform all the work necessary to aggressively defend my client in every case. This is not true of all lawyers, and is most frequently not true for lawyers who charge very little money. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Myth #3: The most expensive criminal defense lawyers are the best.
I have often had criminal defendants hire me to replace lawyers who charged them a fortune, continued the case three or four times, and then told the client he should plead guilty. There are plenty of lawyers out there who drive fancy cars, wear expensive suits, and don't know what they are doing. When interviewing a criminal defense lawyer, you should find out in detail what work the lawyer will do to defend the case. Will he go to the crime scene? Are there legal issues he will research? Will he interview witnesses? How often does he go to trial? When was the last time he tried a case like yours? Does he view the case as complex or simple? Why? Is the lawyer smart? Motivated? Well educated? Experienced? Ask these questions before factoring in price.