How to Find & Hire a Chicago Criminal Attorney
It is very important you consider hiring a Chicago criminal attorney if you have been arrested or charged with a crime. The criminal justice system is complicated and should not be navigated alone.
But if you have never hired an attorney before, you may not know how to go about it. This article will walk you through the selection process.
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony violation, if you cannot afford a Chicago criminal defense lawyer, you may ask that a public defender represent you. You can make your request while in jail or at your first court appearance.
Just because you ask for a public defender does not mean you will get one. You will need to fill out some paperwork regarding your finances. It is up to the judge to decide whether you qualify.
If the judge approves a public defender for you, you do not get a say in which one will represent you. You must accept the one assigned to you.
Finding a Chicago Criminal Attorney
If you do not qualify for a public defender, you absolutely should look for a private Illinois criminal defense attorney. You should not take your chances by representing yourself.
One way to find a Chicago criminal defense attorney is to ask around your circle of friends, colleagues and family members. Maybe one of them has hired a criminal attorney in the past. If they have, you’ll want to know what they thought of the experience and whether they’d recommend the lawyer to you.
However, if you are uncomfortable sharing your legal problems with people you know, you have another trusted resource here at Attorneys.com. We offer a service that can connect you with a Chicago criminal defense attorney.
When you are ready, just give us at call at 1-888-444-5584 or fill out the short form on the website. After answering a few questions, we’ll forward the name and contact information for at least one Chicago criminal lawyer near you no matter where you are in Chicago, Norwood to Garfield Ridge.
You may contact the lawyer directly, or he will follow up with you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet with a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
Getting the name or two of a lawyer is just the start of your search. You should make an effort to meet each attorney you’re considering. Most criminal defense lawyers are willing to chat with you briefly in a meeting called an initial consultation. At an initial consultation, you can:
- Learn about an attorney’s background and experience
- Get some feedback about your legal options
- Figure out if this is the attorney you want representing you
Before you go to your first initial consultation, take some time to come up with questions to ask. The questions should help you home in on whether you want to hire this attorney. So devise some questions about the attorney’s experience and whether it relates to your situation.
You’ll also want to ask about the attorney’s fees so you have no misunderstanding about paying for the lawyer’s services.
Make sure you take your list of questions with you, along with some writing material to record the answers and any impressions you want to remember. The attorneys will find it also helpful you bring:
- Your bail papers
- Any paperwork from the court showing your charges and your next court appearance
- The police report, if possible
- Any other paperwork you may have from the police
Also compile a list of the names of anyone connected to your case. This includes witnesses, victims and co-defendants. The attorneys will want to be sure that they have never represented anyone tied to your case. If they have, they may decline to represent you because of a conflict of interest.
Oftentimes, this meeting is free, but ask if there is a fee when you book the appointment. Remember, you may not have the luxury of a lot of time, so only book appointments with attorneys who can see you fairly quickly.
Meeting with a Chicago Criminal Attorney
It is likely the criminal defense attorney will have quite a few questions for you. You may want to let the attorney take the lead in asking the questions. Some lawyers prefer to learn about the prosecution’s case against you before you go into your version of the events that led to your arrest.
As you answer the attorney’s questions, do not hold anything back. It is important that your attorney understand the complete situation. Do not fear that the attorney will somehow use the information you discuss against you. All criminal defense lawyers in Chicago are required to keep everything they learn at an initial consultation confidential.
Even if you end up hiring a different attorney, all the lawyers you meet for an initial consultation will keep your confidence.
Selecting a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer to Represent You
After you have interviewed at least one Chicago criminal defense attorney, it’s time to make a decision. Ask yourself which attorney had the best background, offered the best advice and made you most comfortable.
If you’re still having trouble selecting one, consider calling a few former clients of your top contenders and ask about their experience with the lawyers. Did they get the very best representation they could? Was the lawyer attentive to their needs and questions? Would they recommend them to a family member?
Their valuable input should help you focus in on the right Chicago criminal defense lawyer for you. Once you have found him, you are ready to face the criminal justice system with a lawyer at your side.