Most people won’t need to hire a lawyer during their lifetime. Those that do may only hire a lawyer for a single, isolated legal problem. In most cases, a client has no way to determine whether the lawyer has done a good or bad job.

In criminal defense law, choosing a bad defense lawyer has grave consequences. A conviction could land you in jail or prison, saddle you with a criminal record, and deprive you of your right to vote and own firearms. 

Choosing a good defense lawyer can help you get a fair outcome in your case, even if you committed the offense in question.

Here are some ways to know whether you’ve hired a good or bad defense attorney.

Signs of a Bad Defense Attorney

Sadly, many lawyers do not meet their clients’ expectations. Even lawyers who have been recommended by former or current clients might not provide the representation you deserve. 

Here are some of the signs of a bad defense attorney:

You Cannot Reach Your Lawyer

The most common dispute between lawyers and clients surrounds communication. Although lawyers have busy schedules, the rules of professional conduct require lawyers to keep clients reasonably informed about their cases. Lawyers must also respond “promptly” to reasonable requests for information.

There will be developments in your case that you need to know about. You also need to provide instructions to your lawyer about resolving your case. 

If your lawyer does not respond to phone calls, emails, and voicemails, you probably have a bad defense attorney.

A good defense attorney will tell you how to get updates about your case. You might have a staff member who acts as your point of contact. You might have your lawyer’s direct contact information. In either case, someone should get back to you when you request updates on your case.

You Argue Over Fees

The next most common dispute between lawyers and clients regards fees. Your lawyer deserves compensation for the work they put into your case. 

Some lawyers charge an hourly fee for the time spent on your case. This includes time spent responding to phone calls and emails. 

Other lawyers charge a flat fee for providing a defense. This flat fee includes all of the time spent on the case, whether it amounts to a few hours or a few hundred hours.

If you do not understand how your lawyer will charge you for services, you might have a bad defense lawyer. Similarly, if you feel like your lawyer has nickel-and-dimed you on your charges, you might have a bad defense lawyer.

A good lawyer will take time to explain the law firm’s fee structure before your representation starts. A good lawyer will also talk to you about any financial concerns from the outset.

While you may not be able to afford the services of every lawyer, a good defense lawyer will make sure that you can afford their fee before accepting the representation. This minimizes the need to change lawyers after the case has started.

Signs of a Good Defense Attorney

A good criminal defense attorney should meet your expectations for fees and communication. More importantly, a good defense lawyer will accomplish results that are fair under the circumstances. 

Signs of a good criminal defense lawyer include:

A Defense Lawyer that Listens to You

When you are faced with criminal charges, it might be one of the scariest times of your life. You could lose your freedom and face serious obstacles to your future ambitions after a criminal conviction.

A good defense attorney will listen to your story and your goals. Your case might have unusual wrinkles, like a false accusation of sexual assault. You might have specific concerns, like maintaining custody of your children during and after your drug case

Your lawyer should know and understand your situation so that they can tailor your defense to your needs.

Your Defense Lawyer Provides Options

A good defense lawyer understands the law, the judge, and the prosecutors in your case. A good defense lawyer not only acts competently but thinks outside the box to provide options.

Fewer than 5% of criminal charges reach trial. Prosecutors resolve the rest by dismissing the charges or entering into a plea bargain. 

A good defense lawyer finds ways to:

  • Argue for dismissal
  • Negotiate for a plea bargain
  • Defend you at trial

A good defense lawyer will explain the pros and cons of each option and help you determine which options meet your goals. 

For example, suppose that your goals include getting a professional license like a contractor’s license or nursing license. A good defense lawyer will look for ways to divert your case. This will result in a dismissal of charges after you complete mental health or substance abuse treatment. 

A good lawyer might also look for ways to plead your case down to a misdemeanor that will not impact your career.

Your Lawyer Follows Through

While no lawyer can guarantee a perfect outcome, your lawyer can work diligently to get the best possible outcome. This means that the lawyer should take your instructions and your goals and turn them into action. With a good defense attorney, you never need to wonder whether they are working on your case.

When you call your lawyer, you should always be able to receive an update from the lawyer or a staff member. 

A good defense lawyer will help you to secure bail or another form of pretrial release at the beginning of your case. A good defense lawyer can also help you to secure a fair outcome at the end of your case.

Finding a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer

The best way to find a good criminal defense lawyer is to use your initial consultation as an interview. Figure out what you want from your representation and discuss it with the lawyer upfront. If you feel uncomfortable with the lawyer’s answers, look elsewhere for legal representation. 

Remember that your criminal defense lawyer holds your future in their hands. You should feel confident that you have the right lawyer for the job. If you don’t, it may be time to consider alternative options.

Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati Law Office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States