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Questions to Ask When You Meet with a Criminal Defense Attorney

The average person isn’t very familiar with criminal law or the legal profession. Unless you find yourself facing an arrest or criminal charge, there is very little reason to be. But if you do find yourself in that situation, asking the right questions of your lawyer could be crucial to your case.

Top Questions to Ask Palm Coast, Florida, Criminal Defense Lawyers

You don’t need to ask all these questions right away, but you will want to ask them before making any serious decisions about the law firm handling your case.

How Much Will This Cost Me?

Some lawyers charge an inclusive rate that covers all work, no matter how long the case takes to resolve. Inclusive rates are usually high but ensure that you never receive surprise bills.

Other Palm Coast, Florida, criminal defense lawyers charge by the hour. Depending on the complexity of your case, this could be a preferable option.

Besides asking for an estimate and upfront explanation of costs, also ask about payment options. Most lawyers offer:

  • One-time payments
  • Weekly or monthly billing
  • Long term payment plans

Find a lawyer that offers terms you can afford.

How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Handled?

It doesn’t matter what law school a lawyer went to or how long they’ve been practicing. If they’ve never taken a case like yours before, you should look elsewhere.

A lawyer only one year out of law school who has handled a dozen similar cases is better than a 30-year veteran who has never handled a similar case.

How Long Have You Practiced Law in Palm Coast, Florida?

Every courtroom is different. Over time, Palm Coast, Florida, criminal defense lawyers become familiar with individual judges, prosecutors, and even clerks.

Experience in a particular courtroom matters almost as much as experience with particular types of cases. If you are facing charges in Palm Coast, make sure your lawyer has years of experience with cases in Palm Coast, Florida.

Who in the Firm Will be Working on My Case?

Law firms are staffed by more than just lawyers. All of the following may work on your case:

  • Attorneys
  • Law clerks
  • Paralegals
  • Interns
  • Investigators
  • Secretaries

While there is nothing wrong with an intern or paralegal doing research or writing briefs for your case, you deserve to know who is doing the work. Asking these questions in advance ensures your case receives the professionalism it deserves.

Do You Expect to Go to Trial?

The majority of criminal cases are resolved without a trial. If prosecutors can’t make their case, they will usually drop the charges. Even if they believe they can make their case, they often are willing to negotiate a plea bargain.

Your attorney will be able to make an educated guess on which outcome is most likely.  If you don’t like the expected result, this is also the time to ask about other possible outcomes.

How Do You Define Success and What Is Your Success Rate?

Success can be defined in many different ways. One lawyer may define success as getting a “not guilty” verdict, while another may define it as keeping a client out of jail.  Understand how your lawyer defines success and then compare their success rate to other attorneys you are considering.

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