How to Hire a Seattle Criminal Lawyer
This article is for people who want to find a Seattle criminal lawyer but don’t know how to go about it.
If the police have recently arrested you or you are facing criminal charges, you are smart to be looking for an attorney. This is definitely not the time to be representing yourself.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, the state will provide one for you. You must meet certain eligibility requirements, however, to receive assistance from a public defender.
If you do qualify, you must accept the attorney assigned to your case. You do not have a say in which public defender represents you.
If you do not qualify for free legal help, you need to find a private Seattle criminal lawyer to protect your rights.
You have a couple of ways of finding a Seattle criminal law attorney.
Consider asking your friends, family members and business colleagues to find out if they have ever hired a criminal defense attorney. If they have, you’ll want to know if they thought their lawyer did a good job and whether they would use the same attorney again if they had to.
If you’d rather not discuss your legal problems with people you know, you can give us a call. Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a criminal lawyer near you. Just dial 1-877-913-7222 or fill out the short form on this website. We’ll need you to answer a few questions.
Then, whether you are in Victory Heights or Gatewood or any other part of the city, we’ll forward the name of at least one Seattle criminal lawyer. You may contact the lawyer directly, or he will call you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet with a Seattle Criminal Lawyer
Always keep in mind that you do not have a lot of time to spare. Criminal cases move much faster than civil lawsuits. However, you still want to talk with a lawyer before you decide whether you want to hire him. Fortunately, many criminal defense attorneys in Seattle are willing to chat with you briefly in a meeting called an initial consultation.
At these initial consultations, you can learn about an attorney’s background and experience, discuss your legal options and find out how much the lawyer’s services will cost. All of this should help you determine whether you want to hire the lawyer.
To prepare for your initial consultations, gather some documents that will help the lawyers help you, such as:
- Any documentation that has your charges and your court date
- You bail papers
- The police report, if you have it
- Any other paperwork the police gave you
Before you go to your first initial consultation, take a moment to write out some questions you want to ask. Some topics that will make the hiring decision easier for you include:
- The attorney’s experience and background representing clients with charges similar to your own
- Your legal options, whether you should plead guilty, try for a plea bargain or take your case to trial
- What are the lawyer’s legal fees, how much could the bill total and how he prefers payment
Put these questions down on paper and bring them with you. Make sure you have some extra paper and a writing utensil so you can record the answers and any impressions you have.
Finally, make a list of anybody connected to your case, including witnesses, victims and co-defendants. The lawyers will want to make sure they have never represented anyone involved. If they have, they may decline to represent you because of a conflict of interest.
Meeting with a Seattle Criminal Lawyer
Show up for your meeting on time or even early. Criminal defense lawyers are very busy.
When you sit down together, let the attorney lead the conversation. Some Seattle criminal lawyers prefer to understand the government’s case against you before getting your version of events.
As you answer the questions, do not hold anything back. You can be sure that anything you say will be kept within the walls of the legal office. Seattle criminal lawyers are bound by strict confidentiality rules that prevent them from revealing anything they hear at an initial consultation.
Even if you hire a different attorney, none of the Seattle criminal defense lawyers you meet at initial consultations will repeat anything you said.
As you are talking with the lawyers, notice whether they are patient with your questions. Do they answer them in a way you understand? Does the strategy the Seattle criminal lawyer proposes make sense? Are you comfortable around this attorney?
It’s important that you hire a lawyer in whom you have confidence, someone you can trust. Jot down the answers to these questions as well. It will help you home in on the very best Seattle criminal lawyer for you.
Hiring a Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney
After you have met with all the criminal defense lawyers on your list, it’s time to hire one. With an arraignment or other court proceedings approaching, you should not take too much time.
If you have two or more equally qualified candidates, ask for the names and contact information for some former clients of each. Call them to get some real-world feedback about what it was like to work with these attorneys. This should help you figure out the very best Seattle criminal attorney for you.
Once you have hired him, you’re ready to face the criminal justice system with an attorney at your side.