If you or a loved one has been federally indicted (charged with a federal crime), you need to quickly hire an attorney you can trust. Whatever you do, don’t talk to the feds without your federal criminal defense lawyer present. You can make some considerations to ensure you get the right person on your side.
Tips for Hiring the Right Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
No one wants to hire an attorney. However, working with the right federal criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the worst parts of the entire situation.
Ask About Their Experience
You should ask all potential lawyers about their experience with cases like yours. If you face federal embezzlement charges, you will want a federal lawyer familiar with white-collar crimes.
Some attorneys focus on murders or sex crimes. You need someone who has specifically worked with the laws that will be used to target you.
You also need someone who knows federal law inside and out. Some attorneys primarily practice in state courts and aren’t as knowledgeable about federal laws, court processes, and penalties.
All attorneys charge fees, but some take money in different methods or for various types of services. You need to clearly understand the costs of your legal services and how you will be charged.
Most federal criminal defense attorneys request an up-front deposit called a retainer. They will generally charge an hourly rate and pull from the retainer until it is exhausted or to a certain level. Then, you will be expected to replenish that retainer.
You should also clearly understand what you will be charged for. For example, you may have to pay for court costs, but you may also have to pay for copying and postal expenses. Your attorney’s office should give you a list of standard costs they apply to your account in addition to legal fees for the attorney’s time.
Above all, the most important thing for you to know is your attorney’s hourly rate or flat fee. If your attorney charges you by the hour, keep in mind that means money for every email and text message. A flat fee is less common for criminal defense attorneys, and you may not get as many services with a flat fee.
Gauge Their Communication Skills
You should ask your attorney how they communicate with clients, including how often and who will return calls. Some lawyers use a lot of “legalese,” or confusing legal language, that takes time to understand. You want to work with someone who uses plain language and calls you back quickly.
When you discuss your case with your attorney, you should get an idea of their ability to speak and write persuasively. They must use available evidence to persuade the court or jury to rule in your favor. You can do this by asking about your best arguments and what information supports those claims.
Arrange a Consultation
Your attorney should address these questions and any other concerns during a consultation. When you initially call a law firm, you will likely speak with an administrative professional. However, your consultation should be with an actual federal criminal defense attorney.
During your consultation, you can ask about the outlook for your case. A good lawyer will be honest and truthfully tell you the chances you have of receiving a positive outcome. If things don’t look great, your attorney can at least tell you some alternatives to the harshest penalties and how they can help you avoid the worst-case scenario.
Learn More from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Before you decide which federal criminal defense lawyer you want to hire, ask them enough questions that you are comfortable with their representation. You must trust them with personal information, some of which may be incriminating. Be honest with your potential lawyer and know that everything you share with them is privileged.
The federal criminal defense attorneys at Harrison & Hart, LLC have helped countless people facing federal indictments. We develop strategic defenses that help our clients get the best outcome possible in their cases. Call us today at (505) 295-3261 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.