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What You Need To Know About A Criminal Defense Attorney

By Alex Stein

The first time you need to choose a criminal defense attorney you might find that the urgency of the situation precludes the appropriate amount of research that you can do. There is often little time in between the initial arrest and the arraignment hearing. If you are unprepared, you could find that you don’t have the ability to find the best match for you and your case.

Regardless of guilt, innocence, or somewhere in between, the quality of the defense often lies directly in the hands of the lawyer’s ability to adequately represent the defendant. In most cases, this has very little to do with a lawyer’s impression of the accused, but it is really about being able to interpret the law and read the legal aspects of any situation and come up with a reasonable defense as well as a reasonable insight into the potential outcome.

When you are initially arrested you might have some expectations that are not well in tune with how the legal system really works. Real life doesn’t happen the way they show you on TV, especially when criminal charges are filed.

Don’t expect your lawyer to breeze in and pull out tons of motions and “blue backs.” You might not even meet him or her until you’re ready to face the judge for your arraignment hearing. In some cases, you’ll have a few minutes just before the hearing begins to go over pertinent details.

Since you won’t have a lot of time to shop around for a lawyer, you may actually start off with a public defender and transition to a criminal defense attorney from there. It’s easier to participate in your own defense once you’re out on bail, as it is easier find the lawyer you need when you have free access to a phone. If you’re denied bail or can’t produce the required minimum to be released on bail, it’s more effective to have a trusted family member or friend do the research for a good lawyer.

You want to be sure that the lawyer of your choosing not only has ample experience, but takes that experience into the courtroom. The last thing you want is a lawyer who lacks the confidence in themselves to push your case through until trial without negotiating with the prosecution. Whether you and your attorney like each other or are simply in a business arrangement is rather irrelevant to the case. He or she doesn’t have to like you in order to provide you with good representation. You should, however, feel that they are able to competently handle the case and develop a strong defense.

It’s not unusual for people who are in the legal system to be able to provide you with opinions based on experience about many criminals. You might find that employees of the legal system are just as apt to give you information as those who have been charged with a criminal act. Some lawyers have great strengths in certain areas of criminal defense. For instance, a lawyer that takes on mostly cases of driving while under the influence might not be able to manage a capital case.

If you tend to experience criminal issues on a fairly regular basis, it’s probably in your best interest to keep a lawyer that you’re confident in on retainer just in case you need their services. Having a criminal defense lawyer all ready to go in the event that you are arrested makes it much easier to navigate the system. You may or may not be guilty of a crime, but if you can see trouble written on the walls beforehand, it’s best to be prepared.

Want to find out more about choosing a criminal defense attorney, then visit

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Stein, Alex "What You Need To Know About A Criminal Defense Attorney." What You Need To Know About A Criminal Defense Attorney. 1 Jul. 2010. 24 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Stein, A (2010, July 1). What You Need To Know About A Criminal Defense Attorney. Retrieved December 24, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Stein, Alex "What You Need To Know About A Criminal Defense Attorney"

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