You have hundreds of choices for criminal defense attorneys in and around Columbus, Ohio. Hiring the one who is best able to advise and represent you can make all the difference between avoiding an unfairly harsh penalty and serving a maximum sentence.
The Maher Law Firm understands we won’t be the right defense lawyer for every potential client. Still, we want every individual who gets charged with a crime in central Ohio to receive the best defense available. To help make sure that happens, we outline five types of questions every criminal defendant should ask an attorney before hiring him or her.
While reading through the list of questions, keep in mind that your Columbus Ohio criminal defense attorney works for you. If the first lawyer you hire does a poor job of answering your questions or keeping appointments, gives you bad advice or incorrect information, or refuses to follow your instructions regarding a plea, you should fire the person and find a new attorney.
What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
Each criminal defense attorney often focuses on representing defendants facing certain types of charges. For instance, The Maher Law Firm generally takes cases involving drunk or drugged driving charges and traffic violations, including CDL suspensions. We also help people charged with assault, obstruction, theft, and disorderly conduct. We would not be as familiar with sex crime charges and defense strategies in those kinds of cases, for instance.
Hiring a lawyer who has helped many other defendants in your situation buys you years of experience and a deep knowledge of how police and prosecutors operate in situations like yours. Understanding when challenges to evidence are likely to succeed, how judges can be expected to rule, and which arguments work best with juries also go a long way toward achieving the best results for a criminal or traffic defendant.
What Will It Cost Me to Hire You?
Investing in high-quality and committed criminal defense is always worthwhile. Making sure you do not go bankrupt is important too.
Ask whether you will be charged a flat fee or by the hour. Make sure you get details about the flat fee or hourly rate in writing. Press your potential defense lawyer on whether you will incur any extra charges if you sign a flat fee contract. Be sure you understand the difference between paying a retainer fee and paying up front. Ask about a payment plan if you do not have a lot of money in the bank.
Last, but really first, do not pay for an initial consultation. Many defense attorneys do not charge for initial conversations over the phone.
What Is Your Track Record in Cases Like Mine?
No criminal defense attorney wins every case. Still, compiling a solid record of acquittals, lenient sentences, and favorable plea deals indicates that a lawyer works hard in the interest of his or her clients.
What Are My Legal Options?
Never hesitate to ask a lawyer what he or she thinks about your chances in court. An honest attorney will never make a promise that can’t be kept. Be wary if you hear something along the lines of “I guarantee to get you off.” Instead, trust an attorney who lists the factors that work in your favor, runs down the factors that work against you, and discusses the pros and cons of a plea deal.
How Do You Intend to Conduct My Defense?
Ask what you will need to do and what can happen at each stage of your defense. The arraignment differs significantly from a trial. Your personal involvement in preparing and filing pretrial motions will vary depending on the topic being addressed. Your obligation to show up in person for preliminary hearings will also vary depending on the court. Getting a sense for all of this before hiring your criminal defense attorney will help you determine whether you can make the commitment the lawyer considers necessary.
Finally, only hire a lawyer when you know you will be able to communicate with him or her regularly and openly. No criminal defense succeeds when the defendant’s questions and concerns go unaddressed.
The Maher Law Firm offers free case consultations to all people facing criminal charges in Columbus, Ohio. Call us at (614) 205-2208 or contact us online.