how to choose a criminal defense lawyer

How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer: Five Tips

No one expects to be part of criminal matters, so they may not know how to choose a criminal defense lawyer when a situation calls for it. However, it’s not enough to settle on any lawyer when you face criminal charges. Instead, finding an appropriate New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent the case can help make the process easier. 

If you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey, turn to the law firm of Aiello, Harris, Abate, Law Group PC Our attorneys have years of experience handling various cases, including those involving criminal defense. Below are five tips and things to look for when choosing a criminal defense lawyer.

1. Look for Responsiveness

You must act quickly if you are facing criminal mischief, aggravated assault, drug-related crime, burglary, or other criminal charges. Any lawyer you reach out to should respond to your inquiry quickly so they can begin working on the case as soon as possible.

It is safe to assume attorneys who do not respond to online or telephone inquiries within a reasonable time may not have enough time to devote to your case. Responsive criminal defense attorneys should quickly answer your call or email and arrange a meeting within one business day. If a lawyer you contact is not responsive, look for someone else.

2. Consider Their Area of Practice

Not all New Jersey attorneys have experience in the same practice areas. For instance, you wouldn’t hire an estate lawyer to represent you in a criminal case.

Some law firms may include criminal defense as one of their practice areas because they occasionally take criminal cases. Still, they may not be as knowledgeable about the state’s criminal law as a firm that focuses on criminal defense. 

As you learn how to choose a criminal defense lawyer, remember to seek attorneys with ample experience representing clients in criminal cases. In addition, ask them if they have experience working on state or federal cases, depending on the court system that charged you. 

3. Ask About Cost

Many people involved in criminal cases often ask themselves, “Should I work with a public defender or a lawyer of my choice?” To save money, many opt for public defenders. However, working with a public defender is not advisable in most criminal cases.

Most public defenders are inexperienced lawyers with heavy workloads. They may not have the time or knowledge necessary to handle your criminal case adequately. 

Cost can be a significant factor in hiring for your criminal defense. However, free public defenders should not be your top option if you want an attorney to devote time and effort to your case. 

4. Request References

Charismatic lawyers know how to resonate with their clients during their initial consultations. However, charisma doesn’t always equate to skill, compassion, or good intent. 

Before hiring a criminal defense lawyer, research them online to understand their abilities and character better. For instance, you can check with the New Jersey state bar to see if the attorney has formal discipline on their record. Some review websites don’t allow people to remove unfavorable reviews, so you can read what past clients say about the attorney before working with them. 

5. Consider Their Knowledge

It’s not uncommon for lawyers to look up laws, charge penalties, and other information if they do not know them off the top of their heads. However, good criminal defense attorneys understand the basics of their state’s criminal law and can answer most of their client’s questions without conducting research. 

For instance, a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will meet with you and outline the possible penalties for the charges within the case. They’ll also know which questions to ask to better grasp the case’s nuances to aid in their research, investigation, and court arguments. Always seek a lawyer who is comfortable within the local and federal criminal justice systems. 

Our Law Firm Can Help You Face Criminal Charges

After exploring tips on how to choose a criminal defense lawyer, turn to the attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Abate, Law Group PC With over 250 combined years of experience and a track record of positive experiences, our law firm has a respectable reputation throughout North and Central New Jersey.

Our criminal defense team can provide legal counsel if you don’t know what to do when facing a criminal charge. If you need representation, call for a free attorney consultation at (908) 561-5577.