Interviewer: For people looking to retain a criminal defense attorney, I would imagine that some have questions about whether or not they are making the right decision.
If you were looking for a criminal defense attorney, what factors would tell you that you’re speaking to the attorney who should ultimately defend you?
Is Your Attorney Familiar with in the Court in Which Your Case Will be Heard?
David: There are numerous different factors that go into the decision about choosing the right attorney. One of them concerns the venue of the case. I would ask my attorney if he or she actually knows the court. This is because every court has its own little unwritten rules. Every court has its own personality, primarily determined by the chief justice in that particular courthouse.
If you were in trouble, or for example if someone were to call me and say that one of their kids got in trouble in some town miles away from where I live, I would be very honest and up front with that person.
I would explain to them, “There’s a certain way that people that practice at that court that handles these types of cases. I don’t know what the so called standard deal is. I could find out but you might be in a better position if you retain an attorney who works extensively in that court.”
If I were looking for an attorney I’d try to find someone that is familiar with the court, familiar with the judges, familiar with the prosecutors, and has handled these types of cases before.
When Choosing an Attorney, Their Experience Is an Important Consideration
Interviewer: I would imagine that many people just don’t know how to make this decision. Most often, it’s the first time they’ve had to make this decision.
David: If someone that I knew was to call me and say they were arrested out of state and they are desperately seeking an attorney, I would mention the factors that I just described to you, in terms of, first of all, who practices in that court on a regular basis.
Reputation Counts: Ask Your Attorney for a Referral
Someone who has actually appeared before the judge and who has dealt with the prosecutors there before would be an attorney that I would consider retaining. Then I’d actually try to call a few people and see if they are familiar with this attorney.
Obviously, being a regular in a courthouse doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the person to hire. It is important to me that the attorney has a good reputation.