When Hiring a Defense Attorney
LOOK FOR AN ATTORNEY THAT SPECIALIZES IN CRIMINAL LAW
A lawyer with a law license is technically allowed to represent anyone in any kind of case throughout Virginia. This is why you will see lawyers who work in the area of “General Practice.” This jack of all trades approach to the law leaves lawyers knowing a little about a lot of law.
It is particularly important that the law firm you hire is familiar with the type of criminal charges you are facing. Nothing beats the experience of having handled hundreds of cases very similar to yours and knowing exactly what approach to take. If you had a heart problem, would you go to a foot doctor to get advice? In the same fashion, when faced with criminal charges, look for a lawyer whose practice is focused 100% on the practice of criminal law.
At Campola Law, we specialize in one type of law: Criminal. It’s what we do all day, every day, since 2005. It’s the only Louis has practiced for over 15 years.
LOOK FOR AN ATTORNEY WITH CRIMINAL LAW EXPERIENCE
When interviewing lawyers, it is always best to hire a lawyer who has already handled many cases just like yours. This is a HUGE advantage. As an experienced prosecutor, Louis has already seen your type of case and knows how to approach it. He knows the best strategy to get you the best possible outcome. Secondly, Louis won’t be “re-inventing the wheel” and learning on the job. He already has handled many cases just like yours, so he can give you his professional opinion on what some of the possible outcomes of the case.
From DUIs to Capital Murder, Louis has seen it all, nothing new under the sun. While your facts may be different, the same.
If you are considering hiring an attorney but you are not sure how much experience that attorney has, it is appropriate to ask the lawyer how many years of experience the firm has in handling these types of cases.
WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF AVOIDING A CONVICTION?
Likewise, to fully assess your risk of being convicted at trial, the attorney you chose will need to review all the facts and circumstances involved in your case. However, he or she should still be able to provide a preliminary assessment based on his or her experience in similar cases. At Campola Law, we will provide an assessment to you during your initial consultation.
WHAT STRATEGY WOULD YOU PROPOSE FOR HANDLING MY CASE?
Just as with the outcome of a case, no attorney can control every aspect of the legal process or guarantee exactly how the case will play out. However, your attorney should be able to devise a clear defensive strategy and a plan for how to proceed with your case. Your attorney should outline the possible strategies, explain to you why they have chosen those strategies for you, and make you aware of each potential strategy’s pros and cons.
BE PREPARED TO GIVE YOUR SIDE OF EVENTS
Telling your side of the story is critical to any evaluation of your case. For an attorney to stand up in court and argue your case, they must know you, if not how can they be prepared. That is why an experienced criminal defense law firm will ask you to do your homework.
You need to explain in detail what happened that lead to your arrest. You will need to also tell the law firm about your “social background” as well as provide a list of character witnesses who can attest to your good character. Finally, you will be asked to provide a list of potential witnesses that could assist your defense. If you complete your homework, the chances of receiving a positive outcome in your case increase drastically. You should not hire a law firm that does not ask you to prepare your homework. An experienced attorney can provide an idea of your options and potential outcomes in your case. It’s important that you provide a complete and detailed account of your case and related events. If you don’t, your attorney won’t be able to provide accurate potential outcomes in your case. It’s recommended that when you come for your initial consultation, that you bring all information and documents related to your case. This documentation will help your attorney understand your case better and provide accurate potential outcomes. You need someone to tell you the truth, not sugar coat it
At Campola Law asks you for this at your initial appointment.
DON’T EXPECT A GUARANTEE
If you are accused of a crime or calling on behalf of a loved one who is facing criminal charges, you are likely very frightened. Unfortunately, some attorneys will attempt to take advantage of your vulnerable state by guaranteeing you a certain result when talking to you. No attorney an guarantee you any result because the actual outcome of your case will depend upon many factors that will unfold as your case progresses through the system. Avoid any attorneys who states that they will “guarantee” a result, they make such bold promises to convince clients to hire them.
HOW AND HOW OFTEN WILL WE COMMUNICATE?
You may have many questions throughout the process, particularly when faced with charges that could result in jail time, fines, or other serious consequences. You should be able to get ahold of your attorney to ask any questions you may have as they arise.
DOES THE ATTORNEY INSPIRE CONFIDENCE?
After you’ve discussed your case and gotten answers to all of the above questions, do you feel confident that this attorney will do his/her best to help you achieve the most positive result? You should not feel like just another case or number. You are entrusting him/her with a legal matter that could profoundly change your life. That is the level of importance you should take in making your final decision about whether your candidate can do the job.
THE PERSONAL FACTOR
A defendant’s lawyer speaks for the defendant. No matter how highly recommended a lawyer may be, it is also important that the lawyer be someone with whom the defendant is personally comfortable. The best attorney-client relationships are those in which clients are full partners in the decision-making process, and defendants should try to hire lawyers who see them as partners, not as case files.
Thus, defendants should ask themselves questions such as these when considering whether to hire a particular lawyer:
o “Does the attorney seem to be someone I can work with and talk openly to?”
o “Does the attorney explain things in a way that I can understand?”
o “Does the lawyer show personal concern and a genuine desire to want to help?”
o “Do the lawyer’s concerns extend to my overall personal situation, rather than the crime with which I’m charged?”
o “Does the lawyer appear to be a person who will engender trust in prosecutors, judges, and, if necessary, jurors?”
COMPARE PRICES AND GET IT IN WRITING
The subject of money and legal fees is a very sensitive one for many people. You want to find a great lawyer who is going to resolve your criminal problem, but at the same time, you do not want to commit to hiring one who’s fee is so high that it creates a financial problem for you. You should be concerned if your lawyer does not give you a straight answer about “How much is this going to cost?” At Campola Law, we will tell you what the cost of representation will be on your very first meeting with Louis.
An attorney is quoting you an exceptionally low fee, you will want to investigate the experience of that law firm. On the other hand, just because a attorney is the most expensive does not mean that they are the most qualified to take on your case.