Protecting your freedom and future is crucial when you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Having a powerful legal defender on your side could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
When you first meet with your criminal defense attorney, there are specific questions you should remember to ask to ensure this lawyer is the right choice for your case. With that in mind, here is more about what to expect and ask during your free consultation with an Ohio criminal defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates.
Why Your Free Consultation Matters
Having a free consultation with any prospective criminal defense lawyer is crucial. This is your opportunity to ask potential attorneys the questions you need answers to the most. You can think of it like an interview where you can gather information and decide whether this attorney and this law firm are the best candidates to represent you and defend your rights at trial.
5 Questions to Ask During a Consultation
Here are the top 5 questions we recommend you ask before you hire your criminal defense attorney during your free consultation:
1. What Experience Do You Have with Cases Like Mine?
It is important to ask prospective criminal defenders whether they have experience handling cases like yours. Criminal defense can describe a wide array of criminal offenses.
Suppose you are interviewing a criminal defense lawyer who has minimal experience with sex crimes, and you are facing sexual misconduct or abuse accusations. In that case, this may not be the right lawyer. Make sure you hire a criminal defense lawyer who has a proven track record of success in handling cases similar to yours.
2. What Are My Legal Options?
After your arrest, you have specific rights. This includes the right to an attorney. Understanding what legal options are available when you’re charged with a crime is essential. Instead of bringing your case to trial, you may have the opportunity to avoid court by entering a pretrial diversion program or negotiating a plea agreement.
If the district attorney is willing to negotiate a plea agreement, you might agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a shorter sentence or to avoid jail time altogether. When you go to trial, the risks are often far more significant. Negotiating a plea agreement may be in your best interest if the potential consequences could turn your life upside down forever.
Pretrial diversion could be an option if the district attorney allows you to enter a treatment program instead of going to trial. However, pretrial diversion is only available for specific types of offenses. You must be prepared to meet the terms of the program to get the charges against you reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed.
3. How Will My Case Be Handled?
It is essential to ask your potential criminal defense lawyer about how your case will be handled. For example, you might want to know whether they have a team of paralegals they work with during their criminal investigation or whether your attorney will handle all of the legal details of your case alone.
You should also know who you should contact if you have questions or concerns, how long it will take to resolve your case, and how quickly you can expect your attorney to get back to you when you reach out.
4. What Communication Can I Expect?
One of the most significant points of contention between clients and their attorneys is communication. It is vital that you feel connected to your case and that your lawyer returns your calls or emails promptly.
This way, you can build trust in your legal representative and alleviate some of the anxieties of facing criminal charges. Make sure you ask potential criminal defenders how you can expect them to communicate, how often, and who your main point of contact will be.
5. How Are Fees Structured?
Law firms handle fee structures in different ways. For example, some criminal defense lawyers charge an hourly rate. Others ask for a flat fee. Many require you to put a retainer down before they can start working on your case. Understanding your financial obligations is crucial as you work on your defense strategy.
Do not hesitate to ask directly how much you will be charged for their services. Also ask about any additional charges you could face, including court filing fees, deposition costs, or the cost of hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. Do not forget to ask for an estimate of the expected cost of hiring a criminal defense lawyer.
It is also in your best interests to find out whether you need to pay for a lawyer upfront or if you can get on a payment schedule. Unfortunately, unlike personal injury lawyers who could work on contingency agreements, criminal defense lawyers do not have this option, as there is no anticipated settlement.
Although you have the right to a public defender, these attorneys are often overworked and overburdened by caseloads they cannot handle. For this reason, hiring a private criminal defense lawyer is essential.
Ready for Your Free Consultation? Call LHA Today
Now that you know what to expect during your free consultation with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates, you are one step closer to preparing a powerful defense strategy to clear your name of the charges against you.
Once you decide to hire our team, we will promptly begin our investigation, collect evidence to support your case, and determine which defenses are most likely to produce a favorable outcome. Please fill out our online contact form or call our office at (614) 500-3836 to start working on your defense strategy as soon as today.