You discover there is a federal criminal investigation against you, or you have been indicted and are facing federal criminal charges. During such critical times, a federal criminal defense lawyer is your only savior. The caliber of your attorney can decide whether you get a prison sentence or a fair outcome based on the case’s facts. So how do you hire the best federal criminal defense lawyer to represent you?
Do you go ahead with the lawyer who prepared your will or the one that helped you purchase your first home? Will you tilt towards the attorney who claims to know the judge and prosecutor, or will you choose the one with the lowest fees? How much will you rely on word of mouth from a family member or a friend? Will you go ahead with seasoned and reputed attorneys like Nick Oberheiden of Oberheiden P.C, or will you trust a rookie as they show promise? These questions are sure to haunt you and increase your stress. But worry no more as we provide a systematic guide to hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer.
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- Choose the right kind of lawyer:
When facing health problems related to the heart, you are sure to consult a heart-specialist rather than visiting a general physician. The reason being, a heart-specialist is an expert in a particular domain and has in-depth knowledge. Similarly, when facing a criminal investigation, you should hire an attorney specializing in federal criminal law. Check how many trials the lawyer had in a federal court and when was the last time they appeared in the federal court.
If you receive a federal grand jury subpoena, you need an attorney who has handled grand jury subpoenas in the past as former federal prosecutors or as criminal defense counsel. Choosing an experienced attorney is of immense importance as they can mitigate the subpoena’s intrusiveness with their efficient defense work.
- Check their costing:
Generally speaking, a federal criminal defense lawyer’s fees depend on how complex the case is. You will come across lawyers who charge a flat fee while some lawyers charge by the hour. A few lawyers charge fees for specific parts of a criminal case. Ideally, you should know all these details right off the bat when comparing potential lawyers, so it becomes easier to determine which attorney you can afford.
Remember, federal criminal cases will generally cost more than state criminal cases. So, be willing to spend more to get quality representation.
- Go for a criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record:
In federal criminal cases, ‘successful result’ means many things. The case’s facts and circumstances decide what is a ‘successful result’ in that case. For example, if you are under investigation and there are no charges against you, the successful result is when you are not charged at all. Similarly, when you have violated the law, and the prosecution has the evidence to convict you, the successful result may be to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.
Check the attorney’s record with prior cases. The previous case’s outcome does not predict or guarantee a similar result in your case. But, it certainly helps you to understand the lawyer’s capability of giving you the desired help.
- Decide after a consultation:
It is advisable to schedule a face-to-face consultation with the lawyer before making up your mind. The face-to-face consultation will help determine whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer and have confidence in his expertise. Ideally, you should consult with several lawyers to find the best lawyer that meets your legal needs. Several law firms provide a free consultation, and you can consult with a lawyer and then decide to go with someone else if you aren’t comfortable with the former.