After being charged with a crime in North Carolina, you need to take steps to protect yourself. That includes hiring an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney. However, before you hire someone to represent you throughout the criminal process, it is a smart idea to know what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer and decide on questions to ask a criminal lawyer in an interview.
Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Attorney
You might want to begin your first meeting by asking the criminal defense lawyer a few questions about his or her job. Some good questions to ask are:
- What is your role throughout the criminal defense process? This is a good opportunity for you to learn more about the benefits of working with a criminal defense lawyer and how a criminal defense lawyer can assist you when you’re facing criminal charges.
- What is your experience managing cases like mine? If you are facing criminal charges, you don’t want to put your fate in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Instead, you want to work with someone who has handled cases similar to yours in the past and has a history of success.
- What’s your background and education? Learn about your attorney’s background, case experience, and education. Where did they go to school? Are they board certified? For how long have they been practicing law?
- Will you be the one managing my case? Sometimes, the lawyer that you meet with during an initial case consultation isn’t the attorney who will be representing you during the process. Make sure that you know who will be handling your case, and whether anyone else will be involved throughout the process.
- How much do you charge? Hiring an attorney does cost money, although when the attorney is good at his job, it is money well spent. Make sure you understand how much you will owe a lawyer at the conclusion of your case, and keep in mind that you will need to pay even if your case is unsuccessful.
Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer About the Criminal Justice Process
You should also feel free to ask the attorney questions about the criminal justice process and your case specifically. Some questions that may pertain to you include:
- What types of penalties are associated with my case? You should know what the penalties are in the event that you are convicted of the crime for which you’ve been charged. Knowing the penalties may influence how you want to approach your case, such as pleading innocent or pleading guilty in exchange for a concession from the prosecution.
- What are my options? You should also find out what your options may be when it comes to entering a plea, which you will be expected to do shortly after you are charged. Although pleading innocent is always an option, it is important to know other strategies for your case.
- What should I expect throughout the process? The criminal process is full of arraignments, hearings, meetings, and trial dates. The order in which these occur and what to expect during each can be confusing. It is important that you understand each and every happening during the criminal process and are prepared for each phase.
- Can I post bail? If you are arrested and placed in jail, you may be able to secure a release by posting bail. The amount of bail that you will need to post usually depends on your crime and your individual circumstances. You can read more about guidelines for setting bail at org.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When deciding whether to hire a criminal defense attorney, you should take into consideration:
- Experience. An attorney who has been practicing for many years will likely have a better understanding of the criminal process and the players involved. Make sure that your attorney also has trial experience.
- Success. Don’t forget to ask an attorney about how many cases he or she has won vs. lost. If an attorney hasn’t won cases in the past, or has lost more than he or she has won, you probably don’t want to hire that person.
- Compassion. You want to work with an attorney who is compassionate toward you and will work hard to uphold the standard of innocent until proven guilty. If you’re not working with an attorney who cares about you and can empathize with what you’re going through, the attorney may not be as motivated to work hard on your behalf.
- Resources. You need to work with a criminal defense law firm in North Carolina that has the resources, staff, and finances to commit to your case. Investigating criminal defense cases, hiring experts, organizing documents, creating graphics and charts, and more all take time, money, and skill.
Contact the Offices of Teddy, Meekins & Talbert Today
There are dozens of questions to ask a criminal defense attorney after you’ve been charged with a crime. At the law offices of Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, we know what you’re going through and how important the answers to those questions are.
When you call us, we will immediately schedule your initial case consultation at a time and location that works for you ─ we can travel to where you are, including a jail. If you decide to move forward with our services, we will fight fiercely in your defense.
Please call us today to schedule your initial consultation. You can also contact us using our online form.