Unlike a civil offense, a criminal offense is seen as an act that is punishable by the law or another established authority. At a fundamental level, these rules exist as an attempt to abolish human conduct that is considered, broadly speaking, to be dangerous to human life. Being charged of, and facing trial for, a criminal offense is obviously an extremely challenging endeavor, stressful both emotionally and physically.
In order to get through the process and walk away with the best possible outcome, it is absolutely critical to have a great criminal lawyer by your side. This person will take case of drafting the necessary papers, gathering and analyzing information, finding and questioning witnesses, negotiations, attending the court hearing, and, of course, speaking in your defense.
1. Trust your gut when it comes to communication
In matters as delicate as criminal law, it is essential that you have a very positive rapport with your lawyer. Although they may sometimes be the bearer of bad news, you should nevertheless feel that your lawyer truly has your best interest at heart and that you can speak openly and honestly with them.
You need to be able to speak to each other without hesitation, and they should always be direct, while making absolutely sure that you understand all the implications of anything they are telling you.
2. This is not the time to be testing your luck with a newbie
You want to feel confident that the criminal lawyer you decide to go with will be well equipped to anticipate any of the twists and turns that might arise during your case. And the truth is that this is the kind of knowledge that comes only from lots of hands on experience with a vast range of criminal law cases.
There are certain sensibilities that go a long way to anticipating what kind of evidence is going to stand up well in court, which witnesses will perform best on the stand, and what the trajectory of the defense should be. These subtleties can only be cultivated through hard earned experience, so don’t be shy about asking lots of explicit questions when it comes to this aspect of their practice.
3. Know what they’re capable of throwing down in the courtroom
Courtroom demeanor is important in all aspects of the law, but especially when it comes to criminal trials. A good criminal lawyer needs to be especially resilient when it comes to intimidation, and can’t be one bit shy when they need to turn up the theatrics in order to illicit the right response from the room.
That is not to say that they should even be duplicitous or two-sided, but they do need to understand that sometimes they need to turn things up a notch in order to get a point across. Criminal trials are dramatic by nature, and you don’t want someone representing you who is going to step down when things get heated.
4. Creativity and workhorse attitude
Truth be told, not many slouches are going to make it through law school in the first place, but when it comes to criminal law, you need someone who knows the rules but is also able to think outside of the box. Complicated legal issues sometimes require an influx of creative thinking and a willingness to try new things.
A strong work ethic is also an important attribute of a good criminal lawyer and talking to them you should be able to get a sense for whether or not they understand the gravity of the task at hand. Trial cases take a lot out of everyone involved, so you want to find a lawyer who is truly passionate about the work they do.