It is difficult to research lawyers when you’re facing potential civil or criminal penalties. Yet you can’t afford to take a chance with the first name in the phone book or your online search. The question is: how do you find a good defense attorney? The better question is: what should you look for in a criminal lawyer Ottawa based?
A High Overall Success Rate
If you were looking for a good personal injury attorney, you might ask what percentage of their cases they have won. Did you know that criminal defense attorneys have the same sorts of stats? The best criminal defense attorneys win almost all of their cases or have positive outcomes for clients such as getting a felony negotiated down to misdemeanor charges or rehab instead of prison for their clients.
Experience / Expertise in the Relevant Field
Criminal defense attorneys may take cases ranging from DUIs to murders. Does the attorney have experience in defending people accused of what you’re charged with? An attorney with a 99 percent success rate with DUI may not know how to handle a sexual assault or murder case.
A related factor to consider is how much experience they have. Someone may have a 100 percent success rate because they’ve only handled two such cases in ten years. Conversely, an attorney who regularly fights this type of allegation probably has lists of expert witnesses and knows prosecutor’s tactics.
When you’re facing criminal charges, you cannot afford to take the risk that comes with being someone’s first criminal trial. If you’re at your initial consultation, ask the attorney if they are the ones who will be handling your case. You don’t want to contract with the firm after meeting with the top attorney if they’re going to farm out the work to someone else.
The Ability to Communicate Effectively
You need to be able to communicate with your attorney. Are they available when you need them? Do they respond to your phone calls and emails quickly? Do they have a track record of responding to clients when the police are there to ask questions or they’ve received a subpoena demanding they turn over their personal computer? If you can’t book an initial consultation in a reasonable period of time, that’s a major red flag. If people complain online that they can’t get a hold of their attorney while a loved one languishes in jail, go to the next attorney on your list.
Suppose you’ve met with the attorney. Do they take the time to answer your questions, or do they lecture you? Do you feel that you can talk to them? You need to feel comfortable doing so. That’s especially true if your case requires sharing embarrassing or difficult information with them that is essential to your defense. The ideal criminal defense attorney puts you at ease while being honest with you. This is separate from their ability to successfully argue your case in court. You can gauge that from their success rate with cases like yours.