Unless you’ve been arrested before, you probably don’t have a lawyer, at least not a criminal defense attorney. If you’re arrested for a crime, where do you begin? The Yellow Pages? A little bird? The guy in the cell next to you? Usually, finding a defense attorney is something you don’t think of until you’re arrested for a crime. So where do you look?
First of all, when you were read your Miranda Rights when you during your arrest, the officer should have informed you that you have the right to remain silent―do that. He or she also told you that you have the right to an attorney and that if you cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed to you.
If this is the case, you will be given a public defender. Public defenders are just like any other attorney but they’re paid by the state. There are a couple of reasons why using a public defender can work to your advantage. Public defenders spend a lot more time in court than private lawyers. This not only makes them more experienced in court situations but they also work closely with prosecutors on a routine basis and that relationship may help you negotiate a deal with the court.
Because public defenders have much bigger caseloads than private lawyers, they’ll probably have little time for your case. And keep in mind that people who are overworked are more apt to make mistakes. You don’t choose your public defender so if you get one that you have difficulties with, you may be stuck because getting a new one is difficult. However, if you’re working with a public defender, you can switch to a private attorney at any time but remember, your new attorney will need time to review your case and plan your defense before your trial.
A private lawyer will have more time to spend on your case which should give you a better outcome but of course, they can be expensive.
You were arrested for a crime so make sure that you hire a criminal defense attorney. Your Uncle Al the elder-law attorney may give you a break on his fees but he’s not going to have the expertise and experience you need. Look for a criminal defense attorney who has expertise in defending others who have committed the crime. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, for example, find a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases.
Where do you look? A good place to start is to ask friends or family members if they know one. If they don’t have suggestions or if the matter is something you don’t wish to discuss with them, try searching online. There are lots of websites that will connect you with lawyers in your area but some may get paid by lawyers to provide this service. Do a basic search online but it needs to be followed by research. Look them up on the Better Business Bureau website, look at reviews on Yelp, and each lawyer is registered in the state bar association directory for the states where they are licensed to practice law.
Many criminal defense attorneys will offer an initial consultation with you at no cost. This will allow you to get a lot of answers and it will give you a chance to get a feel for the lawyer before you commit to hiring. Make sure you find out their area of expertise, how much experience they have, whether or not they have knowledge of the court where you’ll be tried, and how much it will cost.
When you’re trying to find a defense attorney, think of it as finding someone to do a job for you. You want someone who knows the field well, has a lot of experience, and is going to do the best job for you.
At Mercy Bail Bonds, we can help if you’ve been arrested. We’re here 24/7 to help you get out of jail fast. Call us at (727)856-7775―We always answer!