How to Hire a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
If youve been arrested in Maryland, you should not defend yourself against the charges. Even lawyers who get in trouble with the law hire other lawyers to represent them. You need a Maryland criminal attorney.
If you dont know where to find a Maryland criminal attorney or how to select one among several choices, this article will show you how.
You may be eligible for a Maryland public defender if you cannot afford an attorney. The U.S. Constitution guarantees that all defendants charged with crimes may have an attorney represent them regardless of their ability to pay.
If you are in jail, ask the jail personnel to put you in touch with the public defenders representative next time he or she is there. A public defender representative makes regular visits to the jails in search of clients who need their help.
Alternatively, you could ask the judge at your next court appearance to refer you to the local public defenders office in Maryland. You need to bring your charging documents and proof of your income. If the public defenders accept your application, you must take the lawyer assigned to your case.
If the public defenders office personnel reject your application, you need to find a private Maryland criminal lawyer.
Finding a Maryland Criminal Attorney
There are several ways to find a Maryland criminal defense attorney.
You can ask your friends, family members, and business colleagues if they have ever hired a criminal lawyer. If they have, youll want to find out what they thought of the experience. Did they think their lawyer did a good job? Would they hire them again if needed?
On the other hand, you may not want to discuss your predicament with people you know. We can help. Whether you are in Annapolis or Ocean City or any other part of Maryland, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a Maryland criminal defense lawyer in your area.
Call us at 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this web site. Upon answering a few questions, well forward the name and contact information for at least one Maryland criminal lawyer near you.
Preparing to Meet a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer
After getting the name of a Maryland criminal defense attorney or two, the next step is to meet them. You should not hire a lawyer sight-unseen. Fortunately, many criminal lawyers in Maryland are willing to talk with you briefly, so you can get to know each other and talk about your case.
There are several things you can do to prepare for your first meeting with a Maryland criminal attorney, including:
- Devise a list of questions to ask
- Gather some documents together the lawyers will find useful
- Make a list of the names of everyone involved in your case, including witnesses, victims, and co-defendants
That last item is especially important because if a lawyer or his or her firm has previously represented someone on that list, the attorney may decline to represent you. This is called a conflict of interest, and you want to be sure there is none, so you dont waste your time interviewing someone who cant help you.
Because your primary goal at the first meeting is to determine whether you want to hire the lawyers you meet, come up with a list of questions to ask. Your questions should be phrased so that they help you make that decision. Some good topics to focus on include:
- How much experience the lawyer has with Maryland criminal law
- How often has the lawyer represented clients facing similar charges to your own
- How familiar the lawyer is with the prosecutor in your case and the people who work at the courthouse where your case will be heard
- Your legal options and the lawyer's proposed strategy for handling your case
- How much you might spend in legal fees and expenses
Youll want to write your questions down and bring them with you, so you dont forget to ask anything. Its also good to bring some writing material, so you can record the answers and any notes you want to take.
The Maryland criminal lawyers will also find it helpful if you bring with you:
- Your bail papers
- Any court documents that state the charges against you and the date of your next court appearance
- The police report, if possible
- Any other paperwork the police may have given you
Meeting with a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
Present the documents you brought. Then let the lawyers lead the conversation. Some Maryland criminal defense attorneys may want to understand the prosecutions case against you before getting your version of events.
When asked direct questions, dont hold back. All criminal defense lawyers in Maryland are bound by strict confidentiality laws that prohibit them from disclosing anything they learn at a first meeting. Even if you end up hiring someone else, information shared with all attorneys you meet will be kept confidential.
After the attorneys ask their questions, its your turn to play the part of interviewer. As you run through your list, take note of several items, such as:
Selecting a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you have interviewed everyone on your list, its time to select an attorney to represent you. If you only met with one, but you feel strongly the lawyer is everything youre looking for, then your search is over.
However, if you still cant decide between two or more candidates, consider calling some former clients of theirs. Ask them:
- What did you appreciate about your attorney?
- What did you not like?
- Did the strategy the lawyer proposed work?
- Would you hire this attorney if ever you needed to again?
Their input should help you narrow your choice down to the very best candidate. Once you have hired your Maryland criminal defense attorney, you are ready to face the rest of the judicial process represented by counsel.