When you have been arrested or are charged with a criminal offense, you may be overwhelmed by the emotions you are experiencing and the information being thrust at you. While many criminal defense attorneys and firms specializing in criminal defense exist in and around Orlando, it behooves you to conduct some research before selecting a Orlando Criminal lawyer. Here are a few things to look for in your prospective lawyer:
1) Be sure that the attorney possesses Florida Bar Association accreditation and is licensed to practice in all Orlando area courts. You can find information regarding Bar status on the Florida Bar website (http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/flabarwe.nsf). The attorney or the firm should readily provide other licensure, accreditation and professional association affiliations.
2) Ask probing and specific questions about the attorney’s work experience and background. Don’t assume that just because an attorney has a JD and has passed the bar, they are qualified to defend your case. They must also possess demonstrated experience in both the conference room and in the courtroom. You can verify this by asking for a record of favorable judgments and settlements won by the attorney in the past.
3) Be wary of attorneys promising to have you exonerated. Any competent attorney knows that a court outcome cannot be guaranteed. Your attorney should provide you with a first and foremost a realistic assessment of your case, and should not be making unreasonable claims.
4) Be sure your case is being handled by an attorney, and that attorney is making themselves accessible to you. Oftentimes, large law firms will pass off cases to “case managers” or paralegals that do not have the appropriate credentials to practice law. While the attorney will eventually appear in court, it is these support staff that handle the majority of communications and information gathering. When choosing which firm to hire, you want to make sure that an attorney is intimately involved with all aspects of your case. The attorney is the one with the proper legal training, and, therefore, the attorney should be your point person within the firm.
5) Request attorney referrals from trusted sources, or request client testimonials from an attorney you are considering hiring. The easiest way to find a qualified lawyer with a good reputation is to ask your friends, family and other acquaintances who may have faced criminal charges in the past. They will be able to provide you with an honest appraisal of their experience with a given attorney or firm. Lacking a personal referral, you can always request testimonials from an attorney’s previous clients. A qualified attorney should readily provide this information.