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How to Hire a New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If the thought of finding a New York criminal defense attorney is daunting, we can help. This article will walk you through the process of finding and hiring a lawyer.

If youve been arrested, youre wise to consider hiring an attorney. The New York criminal justice system can be complicated. It is not designed for lay people.

If you cannot afford an attorney, the court may appoint a public defender for you. You will have to disclose your financial information, If you qualify for a public defender but also have a job, the court may require you to pay a fee at the end of the case.

The judge will determine whether you qualify for a public defender. If you do, you cannot select which assistant public defender will represent you. You must accept the one assigned to you.

Finding a New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If you do not qualify for a public defender or if you want to select your own attorney, you need to find a private New York criminal defense lawyer. You already have several ways to do this.

You can ask around your group of family members, friends, and work colleagues. If they have ever hired a New York criminal defense attorney, they may have valuable advice for you. Ask them what it was like working with their attorney and whether theyd rehire them if they needed a lawyer again.

If you are hesitant to talk about your arrest with people you know, you can use the service here at Whether you are in Albany or Queens or any other part of the state, we can connect you with a New York criminal lawyer in your area.

Simply call us at 1-877-913-7222 or fill out the short form on this web site. After you answer a few questions, well forward the name and contact information for at least one New York criminal defense attorney in your area.

You may contact the attorney yourself, or he or she will get back to you within two business days.

Preparing to Meet a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

Now that you have the name of a New York criminal lawyer or two, you should next set up a first meeting to get to know each other. You can accomplish a lot at this first meeting. You can:

  • Discuss your options and strategy for handling your case
  • Learn about an attorneys background
  • Determine if this is the lawyer you want to hire

Because New York criminal defense lawyers are busy people, youll want to prepare for your meeting so you can make the most of your time. You can do this by gathering some documents the lawyers will find helpful, such as:

  • Any paperwork you have that discusses the charges against you and your next court appearance
  • You bail papers
  • The police report, if you have a copy
  • Any other paperwork from the police

This paperwork will help the lawyer understand your situation better.

You, too, should come up with some questions to ask the attorney. Remember, ultimately, you want to walk away from this meeting knowing whether you want to hire this lawyer. So come up with some questions focused on topics that will help you make your decision. Some good topics to cover include:

  • How long the New York lawyer has worked in criminal defense
  • How much experience the lawyer has with the specific kind of charges you are facing
  • How well the lawyer knows the prosecutor trying your case and other courthouse personnel
  • What strategy the lawyer recommends
  • How much you might spend in legal fees and related expenses

Ideally, the attorney would not only be experienced in New York state misdemeanor and felony law, but also in the very charges the prosecutor has filed against you. If you are accused of rape, you dont need a lawyer who usually represents suspected embezzlers.

Its also to your advantage if your lawyer has a good relationship with the prosecuting attorneys staff and courtroom personnel. A good reputation may open the door to plea bargains that otherwise would stay closed.

Write your questions down on paper and bring them with you to your first meeting with a New York criminal defense lawyer. Also bring a pen and some paper, so that you can record the answers and any notes you want to take.

The lawyers will also find it helpful if you have a list of all people tied to your case. This means the victims, witnesses, and co-defendants. If the lawyer has previously represented anyone involved in your case, he or she may not be able to represent you because of a conflict of interest.

Meeting with a New York Criminal Attorney

When you first arrive, let the New York criminal defense lawyer ask the questions. The lawyer needs to know the exact charges youre facing and the evidence against you. Resist the urge to blurt out your version of events. Listen carefully and answer the questions asked.

You should not hold back any information. Even though you have yet to hire the attorney-and indeed you may end up hiring someone else-everything you say will stay between you and the lawyer. New York criminal defense attorneys are bound by strict confidentiality laws that prevent them from repeating anything they hear at a first meeting.

When the attorney is finished questioning you, its your turn to ask the questions. As the lawyer responds, notice whether the lawyer is patient with you. Does he or she take the time to explain legal concepts? Does the lawyer sound like he or she is in command of this area of law?

Finally, if you have any special requests of your own, such as needing weekend appointments, inquire about them at the first meeting.

Choosing a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

The final step in the process is selecting a New York criminal defense attorney to represent you. If you only met with one, but the lawyer met all your qualifications, your decision is a snap. If you are torn between two or more, ask for the name and contact information for some previous clients.

Call these clients to get some real-world feedback. What did they like about their attorney? What did they not like? Would they hire the attorney again if needed?

Finally consider the "emotional" component of your decision. What is your gut telling you? Was there one who seemed more trustworthy? Who earned your confidence more? With which one were you most comfortable?

The answers to these questions should point you to the best New York criminal defense attorney for you. Now that you have found him or her, you can brave the New York criminal justice system with an advocate by your side.