Finding the right criminal defense attorney just when you are embroiled in a case is perhaps the hardest part of your brush with the law. After all, the outcome of your case hinges a lot on the type of lawyer representing you in court. A good defense attorney can make or break any case with his experience, acumen and in-depth knowledge of the law. You would not want to lose a case just because you have inadvertently appointed, or been appointed an incompetent lawyer. That is why it is important for you to know when or why to change your present lawyer if you want a desirable conclusion to your case.
Do some prior research
If you have some time on hand, always try to assess your criminal defense attorney while he/she is in action i.e. spend some time at a public court session(s) and watch his/her attitude and mannerisms. There is no harm if you have already spoken to a lawyer and then decide not to hire him/her. Go by your gut feeling and search for another lawyer if you think the one you have hired is too timid or unnecessarily aggressive or lacking in knowledge or competence. Always try to meet an attorney personally without being impressed by flashy ads or tall promises.
Discuss your Case in Detail before Hiring
One way of telling if you have found the right criminal defense attorney is to discuss your case with him/her in detail. Find out if he/her has dealt with similar cases and his/her success rate. Ask how they plan to approach your case and if they would require any ancillary assistance. Avoid lawyers who are vague with their response or who cannot furnish documents to substantiate their claims of success.
Beware of Attorneys who Guarantee Results
Some attorneys are quite pretentious in their approach and promise grand results without even viewing your case. Never trust such lawyers as it is just not possible for any attorney to predict the outcome of a case from the very onset.
Your Attorney does not Communicate
While lack of communication certainly does not indicate incompetence, you want to hire somebody who is responsive and whom will be available as needed. If your lawyer is unresponsive you have no other option but to look for another lawyer.
Your Attorney does not Consult you
While your attorney may not consider it necessary to consult you on each point, you will still want him/her to share important facts with you as your case progresses. No attorney should impose unilateral decisions on you without first explaining the consequences of the strategy on your case. A good attorney will always seek your permission before making any deals or plea bargains on your behalf.
Your Attorney lacks Professional Appearance
Professionalism varies from person to person although a certain standard is expected from all competent lawyers. Change a criminal defense attorney if you feel his/her dress, mannerisms, attitude, communication, etc… may influence the judge negatively. Also avoid lawyers who make mistakes in legal terminology or who fumble while debating.