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Factors to Consider When Interviewing a Kansas City Criminal Lawyer

When you need to hire a Kansas City criminal lawyer, you already have a lot on your mind. If a prosecutor has already filed charges against you, the criminal justice system is about to move faster than you ever imagined. You need a lawyer.

You shouldn’t hire just any lawyer. You need the best lawyer for you.

To find that lawyer, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. This article will break those down and be your guide, so that you can focus on the challenges ahead.

Most criminal lawyers in Kansas City are willing to chat with you briefly to introduce themselves and discuss your case. This first meeting is called an initial consultation. You should schedule an initial consultation with each lawyer you might want to hire. Do not delay in setting up these appointments. Remember, the criminal justice system moves quickly, and you’ll need a lawyer as soon as possible.

At your initial consultations, you can ask specific questions about a lawyer’s background and experience. You can review your options and discuss strategy. And you can learn about the legal fees and what you will owe.

Let’s look at these factors in more detail.


Depending on your charges, you may be facing probation, suspension of your driver’s license, fines or imprisonment. With this in mind, you need a lawyer who has been around a courtroom a time or two. This is not the time to take your chances with a recent law school graduate or someone new to the area.

Whether you are in Brookside or Westport or any other part of town, ideally, your Kansas City criminal defense attorney would have a good working relationship with the prosecutor in your case. That, and familiarity with courtroom staff, could open doors for you in a way that new lawyers simply can’t.

Additionally, the world of criminal law is huge. It varies from the more common charges of drunken driving and drug possession to rarer charges, such as arson or bank robbery. You need a lawyer who has defended charges similar to your own.

If you prefer to have a trial rather than to plead guilty, you should ask the Kansas City defense lawyers you are considering hiring how often they have defended clients at trial. Some lawyers prefer to work out plea arrangements – getting their clients to plead guilty to a lesser charge. If that’s not for you, you need to keep looking.


When you are facing charges, you have several options. You could plead guilty, try to get the charges reduced to a lesser crime or go to trial. In some cases, the evidence against you may not be strong, and your lawyer may try to get your charges dropped. Each one of these options has consequences which you need to understand.

Different Kansas City criminal defense attorneys may chart out different courses for you. Acknowledging the evidence against you, it is ultimately up to you to decide which strategy is best for you.

Legal Fees

Most criminal defense lawyers in Kansas City bill their clients in one of two ways: Either with an hourly fee or a flat fee. They work as you would imagine, either charging by the hour or offering one flat rate for the lawyer’s time.

Lawyers who bill by the hour also typically request you pay a retainer fee, which acts like a down payment. Some lawyers will ask you to continually replenish the retainer fees, while others may switch to monthly billing.

Flat fees are found with cases that are fairly routine and predictable for the lawyer to handle. An example might be misdemeanor drug possession charges. If your lawyer has handled hundreds of these cases, he knows exactly how much time he will put into each step, so he can offer a flat fee. Flat fees are rarely refundable.

Neither the hourly fee nor the flat fee includes everything. They usually only cover the lawyer’s time. So you may have many other legal expenses to pay, such as court costs, photocopying, the fee a paralegal charges or a private investigator’s fee.

You should ask for a list of possible expenses you will be expected to pay on top of the attorney’s fee and an estimate for how much they might total. You’ll also want to know what forms of payment the lawyer accepts and if there are any payment plan options.

Prices among criminal defense attorneys in Kansas City tend to be competitive. However, with court proceedings pending, you may not have a lot of time to find an attorney. Some Kansas City criminal defense lawyers may be willing to come down on their pricing, but only if you ask about this before you hire someone. Once you have hired a lawyer, it is too late to renegotiate the legal fees.

Now What?

Now that you understand some of the major factors that go into hiring a lawyer, you are ready to meet a Kansas City criminal lawyer to see how he measures up.

Based on your conversation, you should walk away knowing if you would want to work with the lawyer. You should examine your feelings. Did the lawyer inspire confidence? Does the lawyer seem trustworthy? Was the lawyer patient with your questions? Do you feel comfortable working with this lawyer?

The answers to these questions should point you in the direction of the Kansas City criminal lawyer for you.