Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime is very serious. If you find yourself in that situation, you need to find the best Seattle criminal defense attorney you can. You will want to hire someone quickly, but you must be sure to ask questions to make certain you find the right one to represent you.
If you've never before interviewed a criminal defense lawyer, this article will suggest questions to ask.
It’s important to interview Seattle defense attorneys before deciding which one to hire. This interview is called an initial consultation, and it allows you to decide whether the lawyer can give you the legal representation you deserve. The important thing is to find the attorney who can best help you through the criminal process in Washington State.
Meeting With a Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney
You will need to bring a list of information and questions to all of your initial consultations with criminal defense attorneys in Seattle. At the initial consultation, you will explain your situation to the attorney and decide whether you'd like to work with him. Be prepared to explain your situation honestly and thoroughly, and listen carefully to the lawyer’s responses and suggestions:
Among the questions you should consider asking each lawyer:
- What are the different steps involved in the criminal process, and what will happen at each step?
- What type of strategies could work for my case?
- What are all the different outcomes that could happen?
- What facts do I have in my favor, and what facts could work against me?
- How long could my case take?
Education & Legal Background
You need to make sure whether each criminal defense attorney in Seattle you talk to has the right education and background to represent you. Some of the questions you should ask include:
- Where did you go to law school? Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
- How long have you been practicing?
- Are you a member of the King County Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association or any other bar associations or professional organizations?
- Do you focus on one particular area of criminal defense? Do you practice in other areas of the law?
- How many cases like mine have you handled?
- How often have you appeared in court?
- How many cases have you won, and how many of your clients have taken a plea bargain?
- Do you have experience in the court where I will appear?
- Do you know the prosecutors and the judge who may be involved?
Be sure to ask each Seattle defense attorney how they would manage your case. Among the questions you need answers to:
- Can you represent me in this matter?
- Will you be handling everything yourself, or will you be working with other lawyers and staff members at the firm?
- Can I meet everyone who is involved?
- Who will be with me in court?
- When I have questions, whom do I contact?
- What is the best way to reach you, and how long will it take you to respond?
You also must consider costs, and you need to find an attorney who can represent you with no hidden costs or fees:
- Do you bill by the hour? If so, what is your hourly rate?
- Will you take my case for a flat fee, and if so, what is your fee?
- Are court costs, filing fees and other expenses included or are those extra?
- How much could extra fees cost?
- How much do I need to pay up front, as a retainer?
- How often will you bill me for your services?
- Are there any other questions I should ask or things we haven't discussed?
Selecting a Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer
Before you leave the office, be sure you understand everything the lawyer has told you and that all your questions have been satisfactorily answered. Once you have had your initial consultations with Seattle criminal defense attorneys, you must carefully consider which one will be the best one for you. Now, you need to ask yourself several questions:
- What did you like about each attorney, and what did you dislike?
- Which attorney seems to understand you the best and shares your ideas about your case?
- Who seems to have the best experience to handle your case?
- Which one can you most afford?
As you look for a Seattle criminal defense attorney to represent you, you probably have a lot of things on your mind. Asking the right questions will help you find the attorney who will be the most helpful in your current situation.