If you are facing criminal charges in Lynchburg, Virginia, hiring a lawyer is not something to be taken lightly. Depending on your specific criminal charges, you could be facing jail time, significant fines, a loss of your professional license, a loss of your driver’s license, or possible placement on a sexual offender list. If you look up “criminal defense lawyers in Lynchburg” on the internet, you have probably seen hundreds of results. How should you go about choosing a criminal defense lawyer when there are so many different options? We have listed a few factors to consider.
- Do You Need a Private Lawyer?
If you have been arrested for a criminal charge, you have a right to a public defender. You do not need to hire a private law firm to represent you. However, doing so is beneficial. Public defenders work hard, but they often have massive caseloads, few resources, and not much time to spend on your case. When you hire a private attorney, that lawyer will have more resources in time to work on your case and advocate for your rights. Private attorneys also have office staff who will be able to answer your phone calls and direct your messages to your lawyer, unlike public defenders, who can be notoriously hard to communicate with. It is not feasible for public defenders to check on their clients when they could have hundreds of cases open at one time.
Multiple advantages come with hiring a private criminal defense lawyer in Lynchburg. Private criminal defense lawyers have the resources you need to effectively defend yourself, such as a network of dedicated investigators, expert witnesses, and private experts. In some cases, private lawyers also have access to other attorneys who may be able to advise on criminal procedure and jury selection should your face go to trial. Additionally, suppose you have multiple criminal charges in different counties. In that case, your public defender will not necessarily be looking to help you get out of criminal charges outside of his or her county. A private law firm will be able to develop a coordinated legal strategy to seek the dismissal of your charges in all of the countries involved.
- What Type of Experience Does the Attorney Have?
Another important factor involves what type of experience the lawyer you are considering has. Did they just start representing clients in the area of Virginia criminal law? Have they been to court or focus on settling nearly all of their cases out of court? Suppose you refuse to engage in a plea bargain. Will your lawyer be able to effectively litigate on your behalf in a criminal trial? Who will be handling your case? Will it be an associate, or even a paralegal or the attorney you interviewed? These are all extremely important questions to ask when considering hiring an attorney to represent you in your criminal matter. You do not want to go to trial only to discover that your lawyer is not familiar with the criminal court procedures and does not know how to effectively negotiate with the opposing party. Ask your attorney what type of experience he or she has when it comes to the charges you are facing.
- How Much Will the Attorney Charge?
In criminal law cases, attorneys typically charge a certain rate per hour they work on your case. You should ask upfront whether the attorney you are considering requires a retainer, which is a lump sum payment you give them at the beginning of their representation. As your lawyer bills you for hours worked on your case, he or she will deduct the amount from the retainer. If your retainer runs out of funds, you will need to pay by the hour or provide another retainer. If your lawyer does not use all the funds in the retainer, they will be returned to you.
It is impossible to know exactly how much time your case will take, but most attorneys can give you a ballpark estimate based on their experience and the facts in your case. It is important to note that you should not hire the cheapest lawyer available, as they may not provide you with high-quality legal representation. The end goal is to help you get your charges dismissed or receive a not guilty verdict if your case proceeds to trial. Your future is on the line when you are facing criminal charges in Lynchburg, and it is worth investing in a high-quality lawyer to represent you.
- Hire an Attorney Who Will Communicate Well With You
Many people say that one of the most important aspects of a lawyer/client relationship is communication. As you are going through the criminal trial process, you do not want to feel like you are out of the loop, and your lawyer is not listening to your questions or concerns. When finding a lawyer, ask about their communication styles. Will they get back to you within two days, or will it take more like a week before they return your phone calls? Is the attorney patient and willing to listen to your story and your concerns, or is he or she constantly rushing you or cutting you off?
It is also important that your lawyer will give you the truth about your case. You do not want to hire a lawyer who will just tell you what you want to hear, but one who gives you realistic advice based on your different legal options. These are important factors to consider when choosing a Lynchburg criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Straw Law Firm Today
At Straw Law Firm, our attorneys work hard to ensure that we provide the highest quality legal representation in Lynchburg. When you hire our law firm, you can rest assured that our experienced and capable lawyers will advocate effectively for your rights throughout the process. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can advocate for you.