There are several considerations to consider when deciding whether to hire a criminal defense attorney. The first and most important question is what you can afford. The second consideration is whether you need a public defender or want to go through the expense of hiring an independent attorney. You should also consider how long the case will take, whether there is any urgency, and how much work you want the attorney to do for you.
There are many rules that determine whether a defendant is entitled to a public defender. If you are arrested for a felony, your county may require you to be represented by an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office. The Public Defender’s Office is a volunteer service, which means you will most likely have to wait for a bit longer than if you were represented by an independent attorney. Every county has a prosecutor’s office, which prosecutes crimes. The prosecutor’s office will take on the case and decide if you are to be charged with a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary or if you are simply to be charged with a misdemeanor.
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
The primary responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to go up against the state and try to get you off of the charges so that you will be able to go on with your life free of legal restrictions. First, a criminal defense attorney will go up against the state and try to prove that there is not enough evidence or that there is not enough proof against you. If the attorney is unsuccessful at getting your charges dropped altogether, your attorney will then negotiate with the state for a charge that does not include jail time. The possibility of you receiving a prison sentence will likely be much greater if you are charged with a felony than if you are charged with a misdemeanor.
Before hiring an attorney, it is essential to understand the difference between hiring a public defender and an independent criminal defense attorney. A public defender is a lawyer that is appointed to defend you by the court. The lawyer that the court offers will almost always be the one who takes your case. A criminal defense attorney is just that; he or she defends you and represents you in a criminal proceeding. A public defender may do some or all of what an independent attorney can but will have certain limitations as to what they can do legally.
Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Charge a Flat Fee?
The majority of criminal defense attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means that they do not charge their clients any fees unless they win their case. A typical fee is anywhere from 25% to 40% of whatever compensation you may receive if you win your case. Compensation can be any amount awarded to the victim(s) or defendant by the court. Many attorneys will also take cases for free or for a small amount if the lawyer believes in your innocence and just wants to get you off. You may be able to negotiate in your favor if you know the right attorney.
Why Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Charge an Hourly Fee?
A criminal defense attorney will charge an hourly fee if he or she wants to work on your case and takes the risk that you may lose. The lawyer will work with you to set a schedule of when you are available for trial dates, and then the lawyer will come in for those times without any charge. If there is a significant time gap between sessions, the attorney may increase the hourly fee or have other fees added. A lawyer may also require his or her client to pay for certain expenses before each session has begun. This can include copying off police reports and other items related to the case.
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer or Represent Myself?
If you are a person who is confident in your ability to attack the prosecutor’s case and take on the court, then you may opt to represent yourself. However, there is a great deal of preparation that needs to be done prior to going in front of a judge. In most cases, if you are facing more than two years in prison and/or any kind of felony charge, it is highly recommended that you go with an attorney.
The state’s case against you is far more complex than your case against the plaintiff. You need to have a strong understanding of the law and the ability to deal with professional witnesses in order to be successful. Even if you have a great deal of experience, it is still best that you get an attorney under most circumstances.
There are a few things to remember when deciding what criminal defense attorney to hire. You should find out if you have a right to representation from the Public Defender’s office or if you hired your own lawyer. You will then want to find out how much the attorney will charge and what they do on a contingency basis. You should also look into the fees they charge for preparation, travel, and actually going to court.