10 Things to Consider When Hiring A Defense Attorney
1. LOOK FOR AN ATTORNEY WHOSE FOCUS IS 100% CRIMINAL DEFENSE
An attorney with a law license is technically allowed to represent anyone in any kind of case throughout Virginia. This is why you will see attorneys who work in the area of “General Practice.” This jack-of-all trades approach to the law leaves attorneys 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? Of course not. In the same fashion, when faced with criminal charges, look for an attorney whose practice is focused 100% on the practice of criminal defense.
At Campola Law, we practice one type of law: Criminal. Its what we do all day, every day, since 2005. It's the law that Louis has done exclusively for over 15 years.
3. WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF AVOIDING A CONVICTION?
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.
5. 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 and your version of the events. An experienced defense attorney will ask you to do 'homework' for your case. This homework will consist of writing down important information that pertains to your case.
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 might assist your defense. If you complete your homework, the chance of receiving a positive outcome in your case increases drastically. You should not hire a law firm that does not ask you to prepare homework for your case.
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 will help your attorney understand your case better and assist when them when advocating for you with the judge and prosecutor.
At Campola Law, we ask you for this information at your initial appointment.
7. HOW AND HOW OFTEN WILL WE COMMUNICATE?
The entire process can be so daunting it is natural to constantly worry about the outcome, and to be frustrated by the uncertainty. A lawyer that does not or will not communicate to you properly only adds to that frustration. That is why we at The Campola Law, PLC, put the utmost importance on keeping you informed about the status of your case throughout the process, and being totally honest with you about your case. At Campola Law, we are available to speak with clients over the phone, via e-mail, and by appointment at our offices at 119 S. Kent Street in Winchester, Virginia. We understand that you might have a job or commitments that are difficult to take time off from to see an attorney. That is why we are available to meet with you on YOUR schedule.
9. THE PERSONAL FACTOR
A defendant’s attorney speaks for the defendant. No matter how highly recommended an attorney might be, it is also important that the attorney 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 attorney 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 attorney:
“Does the attorney seem to be someone I can work with and talk to openly?”
“Does the attorney explain things in a way that I can understand?”
“Does the attorney show personal concern and a genuine desire to want to help?”
"Do the attorney concerns extend to my overall personal situation, rather than the crime with which I’m charged?"
"Does the attorney appear to be a person who will engender trust in prosecutors, judges, and, if necessary, jurors?"