How to Hire a Massachusetts Criminal Attorney
If a prosecutor in Massachusetts has charged you with a crime, you should not try to go it alone. Criminal law is very complicated. You need a Massachusetts criminal attorney at your side.
Your judge will strongly encourage you to hire an attorney if you show up at your arraignment without one. But if you have never hired a lawyer before, you might not know where to find one. This article can help.
If you believe you cannot afford one, you should notify the court at your next hearing. You may be assigned a Massachusetts public defender to represent you. However, only low-income earners will qualify.
If you do not qualify, you need to look for a private Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. This article will explain how you do just that.
Finding a Massachusetts Criminal Attorney
You have several means to find a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.
Check with friends, family, and work colleagues to see if they have ever hired a criminal defense attorney. If they have, youll want to get some feedback about what they thought of their attorney. Was the lawyer knowledgeable about Massachusetts criminal law? Did the lawyer aggressively represent them? Were they satisfied with the results? Would they hire the same attorney again?
If youre hesitant to talk about your criminal charges with people you know, you have another resource at your fingertips. Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney near you.
Give us a call at 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form here on this web site. Whether you are in Cambridge or Boston or any other part of the state, we will forward the name and contact information of a Massachusetts criminal lawyer near you.
You may call the attorney yourself, or he or she will get back to you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet with a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
Now that you have the name of a Massachusetts criminal lawyer or two, you should meet them. Most criminal defense lawyers in Massachusetts are willing to talk with you briefly to discuss your case and to get to know each other better.
These meetings will help you learn:
- About the lawyers background and experience
- About your options and possible strategies
- Whether this is an attorney you want to hire
To make the most of your meetings, you should take several steps in preparation. First, you should think of some questions youd like to ask the attorney. Because your primary goal is to decide whether you want to hire this lawyer, stick to topics that that will help you make that decision, such as:
- The amount of experience the lawyer has with Massachusetts criminal law
- The amount of experience the lawyer has representing clients facing charges similar to your own
- Whether the attorney is familiar with the prosecuting attorney in your case
- Your legal options and what strategies the lawyer recommends
- How much the legal fees and expenses might total
You should write your questions down, then bring them with you to the meeting, so you remember to ask them all. Its also wise to bring pad and paper to jot down the answers and any notes you want to take.
When you call to book the appointment, some lawyers may ask you to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire will ask for details about your alleged crime and the evidence against you. Be sure you fill it out completely and send it in before the meeting.
Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys will also find it helpful if you bring in some other documents with you, such as:
- The police report, if possible
- Any other paperwork the police gave you, such as a search inventory report
- Any documents from the court stating the charges and your next court date
- Your bail papers
Finally, you should put together a list of all the people who are involved in your case. Include co-defendants, victims, and witnesses. The lawyers need to verify that they have never represented anyone else involved in your case. If they have, they may decline to represent you because of a conflict of interest.
Meeting with a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you first walk into your meetings, allow the lawyers to ask the questions first. They need to get a handle of whats possibly in store for you. Some Massachusetts criminal lawyers may even prefer to go over the prosecutions case against you before getting your version of the facts.
Do not withhold any information from the attorneys. All Massachusetts criminal lawyers are bound by strict confidentiality laws that prevent them from repeating anything they hear at a first meeting. Even if you decide to hire someone else, you still enjoy attorney-client privilege with all the lawyers you talk to at a first meeting.
If you have any special requests of the attorney, make them known up front. For example, you may need after-hours conversations or communication in Spanish. Find out if the lawyer can accommodate these requests, so there will be no inconveniences or miscommunication.
Selecting a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you have interviewed the last attorney on your list, it is time to choose one to represent you. If you only talked with one, but the lawyer was clearly qualified, your decision is not difficult.
If you have several who seem equally qualified, ask them to provide you with the name and contact information for some previous clients. Then call them to find out how good a job they believed their attorneys did. Ask them:
- Did the attorney seem well-versed in the law?
- Did you like the proposed strategy? Did it work?
- What did you like most about your attorney?
- What did you like the least?
- If you needed a criminal attorney again, would you rehire your lawyer?
In mulling over your decision, take some time to reflect on how the lawyers made you feel. Which one created the most confidence in you? Whom could you see yourself working side by side with for several months? Which one made you most comfortable?
When you have the answers to this question, it will be easy to see your very best choice in a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. Once you hire him or her, youre ready to face the rest of the criminal justice process together.