Due to the fact that it could be the difference between consequences that impact the rest of your life and a less severe punishment, hiring an attorney is not something to take lightly. Read below to learn more about some of the factors you should take into account, before calling and scheduling a consultation with one of our Virginia criminal defense attorneys today.
Choosing to work with a private law office instead of working with a public defender has a lot of benefits simply because a public defender’s office is going to have a much larger caseload and a lot fewer resources than a private attorney’s office.
A private criminal defense attorney will have the ability to dedicate a significant amount of time to your case and will be able to spend significantly more time with you either in face-to-face interactions or speaking with you on the phone about what exactly is happening in your case. Public defenders have caseloads that often include hundreds and hundreds of cases and it’s simply not feasible for them to be constantly checking in with everybody they represent.
A private defense attorney is able to bring a few advantages to your case. First and foremost, access to certain resources that a public defender may not have access to such as a dedicated investigator to your case, private experts, or expert witnesses that may be needed at trial. Sometimes private attorneys have access to networks of other private attorneys who can, in turn, provide resources like advice on juries, on criminal processes, and other aspects of your case.
Private attorneys are not tied to one particular county, so if you are charged with an offense that crosses multiple counties or you’re charged with separate offenses in separate counties, a private defense attorney can represent you on all of those charges. Additionally, you only have to tell your story to one person and because they have a clear picture of what’s happening in each county, they are able to better advise you on what make sense in each one of your cases and how to proceed from there.
Public defender can only represent you in one county, so their goal is to help you out in that county, not necessarily to look at the bigger picture and/or look at charges you have in other counties.
When choosing an attorney, the process should include more than just a price quote and number of years of experience. Certainly those are two very important aspects, but it is also important to look for the attorney that is the best fit for their particular case. This can look different for every client because each client’s case is going to be unique, but a client should choose an attorney that has specific experience in the type of crime that they are charged with, in their specific county that they have been charged in, and in which court their case will be brought.
Also, a client should choose an attorney that fits with them personality-wise. Facilitation of communication with your attorney is incredibly important throughout your case. You need to have somebody that you know, that you can trust, who can help you with your case.
The biggest mistake people make when they are choosing an attorney, is going for the cheapest option or the first attorney with whom they speak. There are many criminal defense attorneys, especially in the greater DC area, and often individuals will advertise very low prices in order to increase the volume of potential clients who will call in. Potential clients need to realize that a low price does not necessarily mean they are getting the best bargain.
A low price could mean that the attorney will not be putting as much time and effort into a case or that an attorney will be trying to force an outcome on the first court date, so that they do not have to come back to court again. These are all things to take into consideration when looking for an attorney. A low price is not necessarily the way to go. The potential client should be suspicious of individuals whose prices are extremely low, because that could be an indication that the individual is not going to provide the quality of work a client needs on their particular case.
Another mistake that some people make when they are looking for an attorney is listening to an attorney who promises to take care of them without actually telling the client what they can realistically expect. It is really important for someone to have an attorney who is able to handle their case, but is also willing to give them a realistic picture of what happens when they go to court. They do not want an attorney telling them it is going to be okay if they are actually looking at very serious charges.
On the other hand, an individual also does not want an attorney that is going to tell them the worst-case scenario right up front, when it is not a realistic outcome in their case. Someone facing criminal charges wants an attorney that will give them a realistic expectation of what will happen, but will not try to scare them into perhaps thinking that the worst outcome is inevitable.