Are you uneasy about your current attorney, or do you feel you aren’t receiving the best possible defense? It may be time to change lawyers.
When you face a criminal conviction, you want to have confidence in your criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney should get to know, understand what’s important concerning the outcome you need/expect in your case, and most importantly, aggressively advocate for your interests and rights. Unfortunately, not all defense lawyers are created equal.
Here are five red flags you shouldn’t ignore about your criminal defense lawyer.
1. Your Lawyer Has Little Empathy or Interest in Your Case
Your attorney must be invested in your case. They should be enthusiastic about gathering the evidence needed to defend you and zealously persuading the jury that you are innocent. In contrast, you may not want an overconfident attorney who makes promises that are impossible to keep.
No reputable attorney can guarantee an acquittal. Your criminal defender should be sympathetic but realistic about the severity of the charges against you and the likelihood of a not guilty verdict.
Most importantly, you should feel that your lawyer cares about you as an individual, not a case number.
2. Confusing Billing
Are you paying your attorney by the hour or on a flat rate basis? Each law firm has different billing procedures, but you should know what services you receive for your money.
Billable hours are confusing. You want to review your bills in detail carefully. You are looking for signs that your lawyer over-bills you or adds excessive charges. You can also look for surcharges or hidden expenses. It is unethical for criminal defense attorneys to bill for overhead costs.
If you are confused about the details of your attorney’s bill, you can contact their office to ask for clarification. It is a red flag when your attorney cannot explain or show proof to back up your invoice.
3. Lack of Communication
While you can’t expect that your attorney is available around the clock, you deserve to have calls returned promptly. You also should receive regular updates about your cases. Whether you prefer to communicate via a telephone call, text message, or email, your lawyer should be accessible.
When you can’t speak with your attorney within a reasonable time or feel that your defense lacks the attention it deserves, it may be time to find a new criminal defense lawyer.
4. Inadequate Training or Knowledge
You expect that your attorney is familiar with the type of criminal charges against you. Each case is unique, but your lawyer should have a deep knowledge of the fundamental issues to create a compelling defense.
Some things that indicate that your lawyer may be untrained for your case include:
- First time handling a case like yours, or little practice with similar cases
- Poor track record for acquittals
- Lacks specific resources or knowledge that are important for your defense
You do not want to risk your life and liberty for an attorney who is still learning how to practice law.
5. Your Attorney Lacks the Respect of Peers
A lack of respect from judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys is a warning sign of inadequate legal representation. Legal professionals may disagree, but there should also be a level of respect. A lack of respect for your current attorney could have a damaging impact on the jury.
How to Fire Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
As long as your lawyer was not court-appointed, you have the right to dismiss your attorney at any time. One or more of these red flags could indicate that you should strongly consider obtaining new counsel. You do not have to accept poor legal representation.
To fire your criminal defense lawyer, send a letter. Do not fire an attorney over the phone. You should include specific details in your dismissal letter, including:
- The date of termination
- Your reasons for firing them
- Any documentation of conduct
- Where to send your file
You have a right to ask for your file and the information you shared with your previous lawyer. There is also the billing issue – your former attorney will expect payment for services performed to the date of termination.
Why Hire Luftman, Heck & Associates, LLP
Luftman, Heck & Associates is an award-winning Ohio law firm, focusing on criminal defense and securing the best possible outcome for every client in our care.
We are committed to the best legal representation combined with genuine empathy for our clients. Your case is assigned to an attorney, not an associate. Communication is also a major priority – you are never in the dark about the status of your case.
Talk to Our Criminal Defense Firm
Red flags about your attorney could translate into a guilty plea, conviction, or other less than favorable outcome for you or a loved one. You deserve the most robust possible defense from a law firm that fights to clear your name. Consult a Columbus criminal defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates about your case today. We’ll listen, explain your options, and guide your next steps.