Being accused of a federal offense is an extremely serious matter, and when it comes to hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer to defend you against the charges, remember that not all lawyers are equal. If you have been arrested by federal authorities or charged with a crime at the federal level, you will want to be represented by a seasoned, well-respected federal criminal defense lawyer who can ensure that you understand the nature of the charges against you, aggressively fight for your rights, and help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Facing criminal charges in federal court may be one of the hardest things you ever have to do and you need a lawyer in your corner who will ensure that you understand what lies ahead and how to best handle each step as it comes your way. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, our criminal defense lawyers represent defendants in a wide variety of criminal cases, and we can give you your best chance at a winning defense.
What You Should Do
If you have just discovered that you are involved in a federal criminal investigation or you have been indicted in federal court, you are in need of a lawyer, but not just any lawyer. You need an experienced and tenacious federal criminal defense lawyer you can rely on to aggressively protect your rights and represent your best interests throughout the course of your case; one who has a good reputation is well-respected within the legal community and knows the law like the back of his hand. The following are some tips for hiring the best federal criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Choose the right kind of lawyer.
The very first thing you should consider when hiring a lawyer to represent your case is what kind of lawyer you need. You’ll want to search for a lawyer who specializes in his practice in the specific area of the law that applies to your case. For instance, you wouldn’t want to hire a DUI lawyer to defend you against white-collar crime charges, nor would you want a drug trafficking defense lawyer representing you in your divorce.
Make sure he has experience handling cases like yours.
If you are facing charges in federal court for a white-collar crime, drug-related offense, sex crime, violent crime or fraud offense, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling these types of charges at the federal level. You want a lawyer who is familiar with the area of the law that applies to your case, but you don’t want to make the mistake of getting too specific. If you are accused of a drug-related crime like drug manufacturing, finding a lawyer who has dealt with the specific federal statute under which you are being charged is less important than finding one who knows his way around the federal court process and has considerable experience representing defendants in federal drug cases.
Find a lawyer who knows how to communicate.
Your criminal defense lawyer will be your most trusted resource, and it is imperative that you and your lawyer have a good relationship and are able to communicate well with one another. It is up to your lawyer to ensure that you understand the charges you are facing, your rights under the law and the options available to you based on the specific facts of your case. Your lawyer is also the person responsible for putting together a solid defense and presenting your side of the story to the federal government, and you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you hire a lawyer with poor communication skills.
Look for a lawyer with honesty and integrity.
You may be tempted to hire the lawyer who guarantees a good outcome in your case, but that lawyer is only telling you what you want to hear to get hired. When it comes to choosing the lawyer who will stand between you and a potential prison sentence, honesty and integrity are far more valuable than arrogance, bravado and empty promises. A good lawyer will, after conducting a thorough evaluation of your case, give you a sincere and straightforward assessment as to how the prosecution will proceed, but he won’t make any promises that he can’t deliver on.
Find out how much a lawyer will cost.
Generally speaking, the cost of a federal criminal defense lawyer depends on how complex the case is. Some lawyers charge a flat fee, others charge by the hour and others still charge fees for specific parts of a criminal case. This is something you’ll want to know right off the bat when comparing potential lawyers, so you can determine what you can afford. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we offer a free initial consultation, which means you can have a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer review your case with no obligation to hire our firm.
Arrange a consultation.
Scheduling a face-to-face consultation can help you determine whether you feel comfortable with a particular lawyer and have confidence in his expertise and analysis of your criminal case. If time allows, you can consult with several lawyers to find the lawyer that best suits your legal needs. Many law firms will offer a free consultation and there is nothing wrong with consulting with a lawyer and then deciding to go with someone else.
Go with your gut.
If you’ve done the research, arranged consultations and asked the right questions, you’ve probably narrowed your choice down to a couple of good options. If both fit your criteria as far as specialty, experience, and cost, go with the lawyer that you feel most comfortable with. You’re going to be spending a good amount of time with your lawyer and you have to both want to work together.
Know your rights.
Whether you have received a target letter from a federal prosecutor, you have been charged with a federal crime, or you are preparing to face trial or sentencing, it is important to know your rights. One of the most important rights you are afforded under federal criminal law is the right to legal counsel. Once you hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, it should be his top priority to ensure that you understand your rights through each stage of the criminal process and work tirelessly to protect those rights.
What You Should Not Do
Now that you know how to hire the right federal criminal defense lawyer, you should also be aware of what you should not do when choosing a lawyer to represent your case. The following are some things you should avoid if you have been accused of committing a federal crime and you need to hire legal counsel.
Don’t hire your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s lawyer.
If you don’t know a federal crimes attorney, it’s not a bad idea to get a recommendation from a friend or family member. However, keep in mind that the outcome of your criminal case can determine the course of the rest of your life. Don’t hire a lawyer just because someone you barely know says he’s the best. Ask someone whose opinion you trust, then do your research. Read client testimonials, find out how the lawyer charges clients and what his success rate is, and ask what area of the law he specializes in.
Don’t wait to hire a lawyer.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with regards to a federal criminal case is waiting to hire a lawyer. No matter what stage your criminal case is in, we can tell you with confidence that it’s almost never too early to retain legal counsel. In many cases, a federal criminal investigation goes on for months or years before charges are filed, which means if you have been charged with a crime, your lawyer likely has a lot of catching up to do to even the playing field. Hire a good lawyer and hire him early, and you can significantly improve your chances of winning your case.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
This is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make, so when you are selecting a criminal defense lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask exactly how he can help you. The following are some questions you will probably want answers to:
- How much experience do you have handling cases like mine?
- How many jury trials have you litigated?
- How much of my case will you handle?
- How often do you negotiate plea deals or ask for a reduced charge?
- Can you provide references from clients you have represented?
Don’t hire a “pleader.”
A plea bargain is only one of three ways to resolve a criminal case and, in some cases, negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution is the best option for that particular defendant. Unfortunately though, there are some criminal defense lawyers out there who regularly push defendants to accept plea deals so they can avoid the trial process altogether. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, it is our number one priority to offer you reliable legal advice and the highest-quality representation through all stages of your criminal case, and that includes ensuring that you understand your options and helping you navigate your case to a resolution that suits your best interests. If the evidence the prosecution has against you is overwhelming, that may mean advising you to accept a plea agreement, but if you stand a chance of prevailing at trial and you want to go to trial, we are prepared to go up against the government in court.
Don’t interfere with your defense.
Once you’ve hired a lawyer, so long as you are comfortable with his skill and expertise and the manner in which he is representing you, let him handle your defense. You may feel like you should have a say in how the case proceeds, being that it’s your future on the line, but there are a few important things to remember: the federal criminal justice system is extremely complex, your criminal defense lawyer has a better understanding of the law than you do, and you carefully evaluated your lawyer’s qualifications before hiring him. You should feel comfortable with the defense strategy your lawyer is presenting in your case, but you shouldn’t try to tell him how to do his job.
Don’t assume that an arrest is the same thing as a conviction.
If you are facing charges for a federal offense, it is the government’s main objective to see that you are convicted of the crime, and the government has the time, money and manpower necessary to see this through. That being said, the federal government is held to a high standard of proof in criminal cases and in order to get a conviction for a white-collar crime or another federal offense, the government must prove the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Don’t assume that because you have been arrested for a federal offense, your case is hopeless. You can only lawfully be convicted of the crime in question if the prosecution can prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Contact Federal Criminal Defense Pro Today
The process of hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for someone without any experience with the criminal justice system, and our lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro strive to make this process as easy as possible. For years, our criminal defense lawyers have fought for the rights of the criminally accused and during that time, we have earned an excellent reputation as a team of professional, respected lawyers with the skill and confidence to stand up to the federal government. When it comes down to it, choosing the right criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between going to prison and continuing to enjoy your freedom, so don’t leave the outcome of your case in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Contact our reputable criminal defense lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro today and we will immediately get to work building a strong defense in your case.