Navigating the court system without an attorney will cut your chances of winning your case down by as much as 80%. That’s why you’ve decided to hire a criminal defense attorney. But after they’re hired, you don’t get to kick your feet up while they work.
After you hire an attorney, you need to become an active advocate for your defense. No matter how much you’re paying a lawyer, they can’t navigate the details and specifics of your case without your help.
In order for them to succeed, and for you to get your money’s worth, you need to ask your attorney certain questions.
While you should defer to the intelligence and experience of your attorney, you should know the right questions to ask.
If you’re new to dealing with a criminal defense attorney, here are the 5 things to ask about.
1. What’s the Discovery Strategy?
You should make sure that your attorney has gained access to everything the prosecution has about your case. There could be police reports, statements, video or audio recordings, and any photographs.
Your attorney should also make copies of everything and provide it to you as well. Find out their evaluation of the evidence. They should have formed some opinions and ideas about the evidence in front of you both.
A defense attorney should also be able to predict which pieces of evidence are the strongest at implying guilt. From that perspective, you’ll be able to dispute those strongest pieces of evidence and push for your acquittal.
2. What Do You Need to Do?
The criminal defense lawyer that you’ve hired should be able to lay out a list of steps that you can take to lower your sentence. Taking rehabilitation courses or counseling could make your case look better when you appear in front of a judge.
However, in other cases, this could imply your guilt. If you’re claiming you’re not guilty of flying into a blind rage and hitting someone at a bar, enrolling in anger management classes could look pretty strange.
3. What Is the Strategy?
Your lawyer should soon have a plan for everyone involved with the case. They should know how the case against you could play out and give you options as to which path to pursue.
They should let you know if a bargain is an option.
4. Should You Take A Plea Bargain?
For a number of reasons including clogged courts and cost-saving measures, most cases don’t go to trial. Instead, they go through a process of a plea bargain.
In exchange for admitting some level of guilt, a judge will give a shorter or lighter sentence. This is tricky, however, because the person it can benefit the least is a defendant 100% free of guilt.
Your attorney will be able to lay out the strength of your case and whether this is a feasible plan or not. Remember that you’re entitled to a trial if you feel this is the route you want to go.
5. How Much Will It Cost?
Know exactly how much your attorney will be charging you. If they need to hire expert witnesses, that could cost extra. Think about whether you can afford a long trial before you sign up for one.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney Works For You
Remember that your attorney’s job is to help you with your case. If you don’t think an attorney will help you with your case, you can always hire a different one. If they aren’t comfortable answering these questions, you should find one who is.
If you’re ready to find the right attorney for your case, contact us today to get started.