28th Jul 2021
If you find yourself or a loved one in trouble with the law, whether facing a fine or being charged with a felony, it is not the time to jump into action without legal representation. A criminal defense attorney will help you ensure that you understand your legal rights and will help you navigate the criminal justice system.
Here’s what to ask a criminal defense attorney when deciding who you want representing you or your family.
Ask about the potential penalties
A criminal defense attorney can help determine what kind of sentence will be recommended by the court based on the evidence presented at trial. There is a wide range of possible penalties associated with a crime, and each situation is different, so it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on how best to handle the penalties.
If you’ve been accused of a crime and are facing aggravated penalties, an experienced lawyer can help you understand how the charges translate into penalties.
What should you do?
Depending on the severity of your case, our Virginia criminal defense attorney can help. This includes discussions of treatment and classes to reduce the severity of a sentence, gathering all evidence and paperwork you may possess, requesting an arrest report from police or eyewitnesses to the crime, or recovering any desired records, among other options.
Ask about your options
An experienced attorney will be familiar with the local rules of criminal procedure and know what steps to take in every situation. He or she can guide you through each step of the process and pinpoint your options so that you can make informed decisions about your case.
Your attorney will explore ways to challenge any law enforcement misconduct, including illegal searches and seizures. He or she can negotiate alternatives with the prosecutor, like a plea bargain or diversion. If charges are filed, your attorney will aggressively use every tool to protect your rights and freedom. Depending on your case, jury selection may be an option. At trial, your attorney will make sure you are fairly treated by the judge and jury and pursue every legal option that could mitigate your punishment or sentence.
Ask about fees and additional expenses
It is perfectly reasonable to discuss what services will cost prior to retaining a criminal defense attorney. Fees will vary based on location and the complexity of the case. In many cases, the attorney may be able to give you a better idea of costs if you discuss the specifics of the case.
Above and beyond the fees required to hire a lawyer, you also have the right to discuss additional costs associated with obtaining additional experts or any other items needed for your defense. For example, if you are charged with drunk driving and want to prove that the police made an error in conducting the sobriety test, it would require work from an expert.
Ask about alternative sentencing options
Depending on the details of your case, your case may be sent to the grand jury or handled by a judge. Regardless of which court your case is presented in, you will have options to work out a plea bargain that is in line with your circumstances. These include diversion programs, home confinement, work release or furlough programs, and many others.
You wouldn’t hire a doctor without knowing their experience, and you shouldn’t hire a criminal defense attorney without asking these questions. A lawyer’s job is to defend you to the best of their abilities. It is important to ask them what it is they will do for you, and how they have experience in your type of case.