A Guide on When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney and How to Find the Right One

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Defense lawyer with client in court


Millions of people
 are incarcerated in jails and prisons today. That number continues to climb as governments continue their preference of punishment via getting criminals off the street rather than alternative means of intervention.

We’ve found that outcomes when it comes to staying out of prison hinge on accused persons hiring a quality criminal defense attorney. 

Below are a few situations you might find yourself in that would constitute the hiring of a criminal defense lawyer as well as bonus tips you can leverage to find quality legal assistance.

1You’re Facing Assault Charges

Charges of assault are a common criminal accusation that depending on the scope of the assault, can earn a convicted person anywhere from 1 year in jail (misdemeanor) to 20 years or more (felony).

If you’re facing serious assault charges, given the stakes, you’ll want a defense attorney by your side to help keep you out of jail or negotiate a reduced sentence.

2Drugs Have Been Found in Your Possession

Drug charges carry varying degrees of liability based on the kind of drugs you have and where you live. For example, having a small amount of marijuana in California likely won’t carry criminal charges, the charges would likely be a misdemeanor.

By contrast, having the same amount of marijuana in Texas could carry grave, felony consequences and would constitute attorney intervention.

3Alcohol Crimes

Any time you’re staring down alcohol charges, particularly if you’re being accused of drinking and driving, you need to bring on an attorney. An attorney can explain to you the difference between OWI and DUI, they can help you understand the long term damage of DUI convictions and can poke holes in charges that might make your DUI case sink.

We’ve routinely seen lawyers get DUI offenders off and help them get their records expunged. Those outcomes are worth every penny a lawyer might charge. If you’d like to know more about expungement, feel free to read more on tulsa-criminallawyers.com/tulsa-criminal-defense/expungement-attorneys-tulsa-oklahoma.

4Homicide

An obvious instance when it’s appropriate to have a criminal defense lawyer in your corner is during homicide cases. Being convicted of homicide is the most serious crime the average person could be found guilty of.

Sentences that are not mitigated by high-quality attorneys might include decades to life in prison. In some states, homicide convictions even carry the possibility of death.

5When You Stand to Lose Big in Civil Cases

Civil suits for criminal charges won’t land you in jail but they may land you in the poor house. Weigh the potential for damages you might suffer from a bad civil suit verdict against how much a defense attorney could cost.

If the cost of hiring legal help is relatively low compared to your exposure as a defendant, it makes financial sense to invest in legal defense.

6Bonus Attorney Finding Tips

Now that you’ve been briefed on a few instances where hiring a criminal defense attorney would be appropriate, let’s have a quick bonus discussion on how to find great legal help. There are tons of defense attorneys that practice in just about every nook and cranny of America.

Selecting a quality attorney from all your options is made much easier by going through the following steps.

7Hit Review Boards

Run a quick search of “criminal defense attorney” on sites like Google and Yelp. You should immediately see practitioners in your area and what their clients have rated them in the past.

Try to go with an attorney that has an average of 4-stars or higher and has at least 10 reviews. The more recent those reviews are, the better.

8Try Legal Forums

Sites like Avvo and Rocket Lawyer offer legal forums where people can get free advice on their criminal defense questions. By searching through forums, you may find an attorney that’s proactive in responding to people’s questions and seems to have a good vibe about them.

Reach out to that professional.

By dropping an attorney on a legal forum a note, you might quickly find great representation for your case.

9Ask for Referrals

Nothing is more powerful than word of mouth when you’re trying to find a defense attorney. So, if you know people that may have worked with an attorney in the past, ask if they’d be willing to refer them to you.

If people you care about love a particular legal professional, chances are, you will too.

10Public Defense Pools

While not a guarantee to find the highest quality lawyers, public defender pools do house several quality attorneys that are free for certain groups of people to use. To qualify for a public defender, defendants must have demonstrated financial barriers that would bar them from hiring a private attorney.

If you don’t like the public defender you’re placed with the first time around, take heart in knowing that you can appeal to a court to assign you a new one.

Having a Criminal Defense Attorney Will Make Your Legal Struggles Easier

We have yet to see an instance where a criminal defense attorney made a person’s struggles with the law more difficult.

Attorneys help break down the severity of cases their clients are facing. They negotiate on their behalf with prosecutors. They fight for their client’s freedom in court.

The bottom line, a criminal defense lawyer is an invaluable asset that you’d do well to bring on the moment you find yourself in serious legal trouble. If you’d like more insight on criminal defense, feel free to check out additional content on the subject in the legal section of our blog.

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