If you or a loved one are being charged with a criminal offense for the first time, it is likely you are afraid, concerned about your future, and unsure of what steps to take first. Hiring a trusted, experienced attorney to help with your defense is going to be among the first items on your checklist. Do not wait or procrastinate because your case could hinge on what happens early on.
How to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Checklist
- Do some research. If you have a family friend or colleague who is an attorney practicing in any area, he or she can be a perfect place to start. Most attorneys have a referral list of vetted attorneys in various practice areas to whom they can refer their clients. Also, if you know someone personally who fought criminal charges successfully, you could ask them to suggest their attorney.
- Professional Associations. Most larger communities have groups of attorneys or professionals that are organized to offer referral services or online directories. Call your local Bar Association office if you cannot find any of these on your own.
- Directories. Search online for directories that offer vetted attorneys in various geographic areas.
- Interview Prospective Attorneys. Choosing the right attorney is like engaging any other service, you want to be sure you can work with the individual. The best way to know this is to interview attorneys. Take the time to talk to the attorney or his or her staff to learn their practices and how they work. If you can meet face to face, even better. Be sure to learn if you will have to pay for the interview or if the firm offers free consultations.
- Read the Engagement Agreement. Make sure you understand how the firm will bill you, what you will be charged for, if you can have a refund of any unspent retainer fees, and if you are billed as a flat fee or hourly. Be sure to know if you will be charged additional fees if you call or email to ask questions. Make sure you leave with your own copy of the agreement if you sign one.
- Get the Whole Fee Story. Costs of a criminal defense vary from case to case and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Be wary of firms that ask for a small retainer. If you do your research and learn most other noted attorneys charge more, it could mean future requests for more money to complete your defense.
- Trust Your Gut. After you have interviewed your chosen attorneys, you are not obligated to hire any that you have consulted with. If one or more gives you an uncomfortable feeling, move on. If an attorney is making you promises of “I can guarantee you won't go to jail” or “Your case is easy,” walk away.
Steve Karimi aggressively approaches all cases. His experience working as a prosecutor makes him uniquely prepared to defend your criminal charges. Make your appointment with one of Karimi Law Office's experienced attorneys and get started fighting your criminal charges today.