When facing a criminal charge, one of the first things to do is hire a competent criminal defense attorney to help you plan your defense and get you out of legal trouble. The criminal justice system is complex and attempting to navigate its many nuances on your own is just downright bad practice.
However, hiring a good criminal defense lawyer is not always an easy feat. The nature of criminal charges is that a conviction can mean hefty fines, jail time, or worse. You don’t really have the luxury of being represented by an incompetent counsel.
So how do you distinguish the good criminal defense lawyers from the bad ones? Here are four warning signs to be on the lookout for when hiring a criminal lawyer in Tampa, FL.
Many attorneys proudly refer to themselves as ‘seasoned trial lawyers.’ They even put it on their business cards, websites, and other marketing materials. However, when it comes to actually going to trial to defend their clients, they are quick to suggest that they cop a plea deal instead.
That’s the last thing you want to hear, especially when you’re innocent of the charges brought against you. Besides, if you were already going to plead guilty, why would you need them?
Admittedly, there are times when it makes sense to push for a plea deal, but this is only after your lawyer has painstakingly walked you through your options and explained why it is the right course of action.
‘Call me whenever,’ ‘I’m always around.’ Do these sound familiar? But when you actually do call them, all you get is a voicemail. If they do pick your call, they sound impatient on the phone and are unwilling to talk specifics. That’s a huge red flag.
When hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you’re essentially putting your life and reputation in their hands. The least they could do is be available to discuss your case and put your mind at ease.
Things tend to change real fast in the criminal defense world. Maybe new evidence has surfaced that could sway the case in your favor and you need to reach your lawyer right away. How awkward and frustrating would it be if all you got was their answering machine? Take the hint — they’re not a good fit for you.
Criminal cases can take weeks or even months to conclude. Throughout that period, your lawyer should be providing regular updates about the case so you’re looped in at all times. It’s your case, after all, and you should have first-hand information about any changes or updates as soon as they’re available.
If the only update you’re getting from your lawyer is their bill, it may be time to rethink your choice of legal representation.
Lawyers are generally busy people, but if they’re always too busy to update you on the progress of your case, then it may be a sign that they don’t care enough about it, or that they’re too cheap to hire the necessary support staff to handle the case workloads of the firm.
A good criminal defense lawyer is clear and transparent about what it will cost you to hire them. More importantly, they ensure that the agreement is in writing. This reduces the chances that they will try to engage in questionable financial practices.
This is particularly critical if they bill you by the hour. Many law firms employ junior associates and paralegals, all with varying hourly wages. Your lawyer should be able to explain exactly who worked on your case, what they did, how long it took, and how much it cost.
Read also: 5 Questions to ask a defense attorney In Tampa
If you’re looking to hire an experienced and competent criminal lawyer in Tampa, FL, Candela Law Firm is here to help. Our founder and managing partner, Anthony Candela is a three-time board-certified criminal defense attorney who has tried over 200 cases and appeals. We take our job seriously and work tirelessly toward the results that you desire for your case.
Talk to us today about your case and let us show you how a truly skilled and effective lawyer defends against criminal charges. Fill out our contact form now to get started.
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