Has the attorney become a Certified Criminal Law Specialist?
While you can ask a lawyer about his or her experience, a better way to determine the lawyer's qualifications is to find out if the attorney has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Criminal Law Specialist. An attorney who is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist has proven his or her proficiency in the area of criminal law.
How many years has the attorney practiced criminal law?
Your future is too important to hand over to a lawyer who has not been practicing criminal law for a significant period of time. Research has shown that it takes approximately 10 years to become an expert in any chosen field. You will want to look for an attorney who has spent at least 10 years practicing criminal law.
How many trials as the attorney litigated?
Many lawyers aren't comfortable taking cases all the way to trial, and they will find a way to settle your case while it is still in its infancy. You will want a lawyer who is familiar with and confident in the trial process and not afraid to go to trial. The prosecution can sense the fear of going to trial, which can have a detrimental effect on plea bargaining. Having an attorney who is ready and willing to go to trial can significantly improve the outcome of your case.
Is the attorney's practice devoted solely to criminal law?
You should look for a lawyer who handles DUI cases on a regular basis. Generally, an attorney whose practice is predominantly devoted to criminal defense (80% or more) has significant DUI experience.
What kind of experience does the attorney have?
Many attorneys will open a private practice right out of law school without absorbing the invaluable experience that comes from working as a prosecutor or public defender. You will want a lawyer who has cultivated trial skills before opening up a practice. Prosecutors and public defenders spend time in the courtroom on a daily basis. They are exposed to various types of cases and handle a wide range of criminal matters. A lawyer who has gained such training and experience before going into private practice has an advantage.
Is the Attorney local?
A local attorney has the advantage of being familiar with local law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and practices of the courts which can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Before you hire a lawyer, it is important to find out how familiar he or she is with the county where your case is pending.
What is the attorney's reputation?
The best way to determine whether a lawyer is competent is by talking to former clients and others who are familiar with the lawyer's reputation. A lawyer who has a good reputation has worked hard to earn it and will work even harder to keep it. There are many commercial databases which keep track of data relating to lawyers including aavo.
Is the attorney making promises about the outcome of the case?
Although an experienced criminal defense lawyer can often accurately predict what may happen in your case, no attorney can honestly guarantee a particular result. A lawyer who informs you of all possible outcomes, including negative outcomes, has your best interests at heart. A lawyer who makes outrageous promises about what the future holds is more concerned about getting your business than providing you with the best representation possible.
How much will the attorney charge?
People often want to pay as little as possible when hiring somebody to perform a service. When you are charged with a crime, you will want to hire the best lawyer for your case. A low fee can mean the lawyer is not experienced. It may also mean that he or she handles a high volume of cases. Often, attorneys quote minimal fees because they intend to plead out your case without exploring all possible alternatives, such as motion practice or trial.