If it’s your first time facing a criminal charge, you’ve probably never worked with a criminal defense lawyer before. And if you’ve never worked with a criminal defense lawyer before, you might not know what separates a good lawyer from a bad one.
Before you start scheduling consultations to find the right lawyer to represent your case, take time to learn about attorney red flags. The attorney representing your case should be honest, dedicated, transparent and experienced with cases like yours. If you run into one or more of the following four issues, keep running:
Any Guarantee At All
Let’s back this one up for a moment. There are a few guarantees a lawyer can make that aren’t red flags, like:
- I guarantee I’ll give your case my full time and attention
- I guarantee I’ll do everything in my power to help you reach the best outcome possible
If a lawyer can back up the guarantee he’s making, there’s no problem. But if he makes a guarantee along these lines, you should move on and find somebody else to represent your case:
- I guarantee you’ll be found innocent
- I guarantee you won’t go to jail
- I guarantee we’ll win this case
See the difference? A lawyer can’t guarantee anything about your case’s outcome. If he does, he’s not being honest. And you should never work with a dishonest lawyer.
He Doesn’t Get Back to you
Your lawyer should want to work with you. If you find yourself calling two, three, four or more times and never having your calls returned...what do you think will happen after you’ve signed a contract to work together and you need to talk about your case?
If your lawyer doesn’t return your calls and emails in a timely fashion, that’s a sign he’s overbooked or simply isn’t prioritizing client communications. In either case, that’s a red flag that should send you running.
And when we say your lawyer should return your calls and emails in a timely manner, what we really mean is your lawyer’s office. Attorneys get busy and when this happens, typically delegate calls and emails to their assistants. If you find yourself mostly communicating with your lawyer’s assistant, that’s not a problem...unless you find you’re never getting the information you’re seeking from your lawyer.
He’s Vague About How he Bills
Before you sign a contract to work with a lawyer, you should know how much you’re going to spend for his services. Whether he bills by the hour or by the case, expect to pay a set retainer fee up front. If your lawyer bills by the hour, you can also expect to have an accurate quote for how many hours he will likely work on your case – and how much he’ll likely bill you.
If a lawyer is vague about how much you’ll spend to work with him or if he point-blank refuses to answer questions about how much he’ll charge, that’s a red flag. Usually, it means you’d end up spending far more than you expected to spend – without an explanation.
She has No Client Testimonials to Share
If a lawyer can’t tell you specific details about past clients or cases, that’s not a red flag. Lawyers have to keep certain details confidential to protect their clients’ privacy as well as the privacy of others involved in these cases.
But if the lawyer can’t share testimonials from satisfied previous clients, that’s a problem. Having no testimonials can mean she’s a brand-new lawyer, which doesn’t mean she’s a bad lawyer...but you owe it to yourself to work with somebody who has experience.
It can also mean she doesn’t have good testimonials to share.
Similarly, not being able to point to a successful track record can be a red flag. Though she can’t disclose all the details of her cases, she can speak about her past success in broad, general terms – and since they reflect positively on her, she should be eager to!
So ask about her past successes and positive testimonials. Any lawyer with a positive track record would be delighted to show off her wins to you. If she refuses or promises to share them at a later date but never follows up, it’s probably in your best interest to work with another lawyer.
Start Working with a Carmel Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
During your initial consultation with an attorney, ask about these issues. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask questions like “how frequently should I expect to speak with you?” and “what is the likelihood of each potential outcome for my case?” Think of your consultation as an interview: you’re gathering information not only about how your lawyer works, but his character and whether he’s a good fit to represent you and your case.
If you’re facing, or even potentially facing, any type of criminal charge, contact Blankenship Law, LLC now to schedule your legal consultation in our office. Don’t wait – be proactive and take the first steps in defending your case today.