How to Hire a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
How to Hire a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
If youve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony in Michigan, you should not try to represent yourself. You need a Michigan criminal defense lawyer at your side, making sure the police and courtroom personnel uphold your rights.
But if youve never used an attorney before, you may not know how to go about finding one. This article can help.
Even if you cannot afford an attorney, you still need one. The U.S. and Michigan state constitutions guarantee that even poor people must have access to an attorney. Either while you are in jail or at your first court appearance, you will be asked if you want a local Michigan public defender.
You must apply for a public defender. On the application, you will be asked a series of questions about your financial situation. It is up to either the judge on your case or the magistrate (if youre in jail) to decide whether you will get a public defender.
If your application is approved, you must accept the lawyer assigned to you. You do not have a say in which public defender represents you.
If your income does not qualify or your application is refused, you need to find a private Michigan criminal defense attorney, and you dont have time to spare.
Finding a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
You have several ways of finding a Michigan criminal defense attorney. You can ask around your circle of friends, family members, and work associates, If they have hired a criminal attorney before, youll want to find out what they thought of their attorney. Was the attorney knowledgeable? Did the attorney get the desired results? Would they recommend the lawyer?
If youd rather not talk about the criminal charges youre facing with people you know, you have another resource right here. Whether you are in Lansing or Detroit or any other part of the state, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a Michigan criminal defense attorney in your area.
Call 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this web site. After youve answered a few questions, well forward the name and contact information for at least one Michigan criminal defense attorney in your area.,/p>
Feel free to contact the attorney yourself, or he or she will get back to you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet with a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer
Armed with the name of at least one Michigan criminal defense lawyer, the next step in the process is to interview the attorney. Most criminal defense lawyers in Michigan are willing to talk with you briefly.
You can accomplish several goals at this meeting. You can:
- Discuss your options and a possible strategy
- Get to know more about the attorneys background and experience
- Most importantly, determine whether this is someone you want to hire
You dont want to overlook the importance of experience. Its not enough to have an attorney who has worked in criminal law. You need an attorney experienced in the kind of charges youre facing. For example, if youre accused of an assault in Michigan, you dont need a lawyer who typically represents clients accused of tax evasion.
Because your overall goal in this meeting is to figure out if this is the attorney for you, come up with questions that will help you with that decision. Some good topics to cover include:
- How much experience the lawyer has in representing clients facing similar charges
- How much experience the attorney has in the courthouse where your case will be heard
- Whether the attorney is familiar with the prosecutor in the case
- Your legal options and the lawyers proposed strategy for handling your case
- How much you can expect to spend in legal fees and expenses
Make sure you bring your questions with you to the meeting, so that you dont forget to ask anything. Its also wise to bring some paper and a pen, so you can record the answers and any notes you want to take.
In addition, the Michigan criminal attorneys will find it helpful if you could bring other documents with you, including:
- Any paperwork you received from the court showing the charges against you and your next court date
- Your bail papers
- The police report if possible
- Any other paperwork the police might have given you, such as an inventory report from a search
Finally, the lawyers will also be grateful if you could put together a list of the people connected to your case. This includes co-defendants, witnesses, and victims. In general, lawyers will not represent you if they or their firm have represented someone else involved in your case because of a conflict of interest.
Meeting with a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
Let the attorneys start the questioning. They need to clearly understand the charges you are facing and the evidence against you.
In answering the questions, do not hold anything back. Strict confidentiality rules prohibit criminal defense attorneys in Michigan from repeating anything they hear at a first meeting with a potential client. Even if you end up hiring someone else, all the attorneys you meet to discuss your case will keep your answers confidential.
After the lawyer gets a better understanding of the charges against you, it is your turn to ask the questions. Make sure you refer to your prepared list, so you dont leave anything out.
Also, if you have any special needs, ask about them at the first meeting. For example, you may need weekend hours or communication in another language Ask if the lawyers can accommodate you at your first meeting, so there will be no disappointments down the road.
Hiring a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
After you have met all the attorneys on your list, its time to select one to represent you. If you only met with one but everything clicked, your search is over.
If you met with several and are having a tough time choosing among several worthy choices, ask for the contact information for a couple of former clients. Then call those clients to find out what it was like working with their attorneys. Were they satisfied with the results? Was the lawyer knowledgeable? Did he or she fight hard for them? Would they hire them again if they needed?
If youre still undecided, monitor how you felt about each lawyer. Ask yourself:
- In which ones abilities and experience did I feel most confident?
- Who seemed most trustworthy?
- With which one did I feel most comfortable?
The answers should help you narrow your search down to your very best choice in a Michigan criminal defense attorney. Once you have hired him or her, youre ready to move forward with a defense lawyer at your side.