People facing state or federal legal matters need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Once a person is arrested, the prosecutor begins building a strong case against the accused. It is imperative for the accused to have a defence lawyer begin building a strong case, which cannot happen until one is contacted. While time is of the essence, it is wise to consider certain aspects when making the choice of who to hire.
Years of experience, in general, are a great asset. Specific experience will end up being more helpful to the accused. Ask how much experience the firm has had to handle the type of case pending against you. Someone charged with drug trafficking, for example, should be represented by a law firm that has taken on many trafficking cases on a federal level. The charges may involve multiple states, so a firm with lawyers licensed in multiple states, such as Hart Powell, SC is an excellent choice.
Courtroom experience is another specific aspect to consider. Most cases are settled out of court due to plea bargains, settlements, or motions to dismiss the case. As a result, some lawyers can practice for years without the need to present evidence in court. This process is faster, cheaper, less stressful for all involved, and alleviates the burdens of an overcrowded trial system. Do not hesitate to ask how many cases have been brought to trial and the success rate of those trials.
Researching a few firms is recommended to learn more about the lawyers and the procedures used to assist clients with defence. Some have in-house investigative teams that make building a case faster and more efficient. Others may have a solid reputation for selecting top-level expert witnesses. Most websites will include a list of recent cases won, so browse that to find a case regarding similar circumstances to the current situation.
Serious cases can take years to complete. A critical aspect of choosing a lawyer involves hiring one with whom the accused feels comfortable working. Is there confidence in how the lawyer answers questions? Does there seem to be mutual respect and understanding for the seriousness of the charges?
Can honest exchanges take place to deal with any evidence presented by the prosecutor? The answers to these questions and others will help determine if the working relationship will withstand the amount of time lawyer and the client will have to spend working together.
Discuss payment arrangements and solutions before choosing a lawyer. Legal costs can add up quickly and it is crucial to be prepared. A flat fee for services typically applies for standard services, such as writing a will. Hourly rates are common for serious and complicated cases. Get a written estimate of hours to complete the case for an idea of a price range.
A retainer is money paid upfront for fees and expenses. This is most common for business owners, celebrities, athletes, and wealthy families. There are also pre-paid legal plans for those who are not so wealthy. It works much like an insurance policy. Monthly payments are made in exchange for certain legal services as needed.
People seeking personal injury compensation can typically find firms that operate on a contingency fee. That means the firm receives a percentage of any money awarded as a result of the outcome. If no money is awarded, the client owes zero lawyer fees. Some fees are the responsibility of the client, such as court fees, copying, and filing of documents, and hiring expert witnesses.
The most important aspect of choosing a lawyer is to do so sooner rather than later. Waiting a period of two or three weeks or longer to hire one limits the time spent on building a case and may affect the outcome. Protect your rights, family, job, and reputation by finding legal representation quickly.