If you're in need of a criminal attorney and live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach (Florida), be sure to look for the qualities that make a successful, trustworthy criminal lawyer. After all, your reputation and possibly your livelihood are on the line if you've been accused of or arrested for a white-collar crime. Put your case in the hands of someone that knows the law and cares about your needs. Here are ten ways to know you've found the right lawyer.
1. Call the Florida State Bar or visit the official website to be sure your criminal lawyer has never been disciplined by the bar in the past.
2. Notice how well (or poorly) the attorney's staff members conduct their business and daily activities. Consider the receptionist's attitude and level of professionalism. Staff members should treat every client with respect regardless of who it is or the type of charges involved.
3. Be certain the lawyer you initially speak with will be your actual representative. If you hire a certain Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer based on his/her credentials and success record with previous cases, then you'll certainly want that particular lawyer to represent you personally.
4. Write a list of needs and wants to be sure your Miami criminal lawyer understands your goals and financial situation. For example, he/she might be able to work with you on a payment plan if your finances are low. Or, you might benefit from an initial free consultation before making a decision on how to move forward with your case. Some criminal attorneys offer advice by e-mail or phone, or are even available for meetings on weekends.
5. Choose a local criminal attorney if possible. For example, if you live in West Palm Beach, criminal lawyers that live and/or practice in West Palm Beach are likely your best ones to consult with about your case. Local attorneys tend to be more familiar with the court in your area, including procedures, officers, judges, prosecutors, etc. Knowing your attorney is familiar with the procedures in your local area will ease your mind when your day in court arrives.
6. Ask about malpractice insurance. If the Miami criminal lawyer you're considering doesn't carry this type of insurance, you might consider using another lawyer to be on the safe side. Don't be afraid to ask - an honest, professional lawyer should be willing to answer questions such as this without hesitation.
7. Look for affordability without sacrificing quality service. Not all criminal lawyers that are good at what they do charge outrageous fees. By doing a little homework, you can likely find one in your area that's both affordable and reliable.
8. Don't base your selection on advertising alone. Just because a particular criminal lawyer has the biggest display ad in the phone book, this gives no indication as to how well he will represent you in the courtroom. Base your decision on the lawyer's experience, credentials and referrals from others he has represented when possible.
9. Watch out for overbearing attorneys that try to coax you into taking their advice without carefully listening to your needs and wants. A good criminal lawyer will sincerely care about your needs, and he/she will listen to your explanations carefully and exercise discernment before blurting out answers.
10. Take time to make decisions. From choosing your criminal lawyer to making decisions with your lawyer about how to move forward in your case, don't hesitate to ask for a little more time to think things over. Choose a criminal lawyer that's willing to give you breathing room without pressure. When a court case is in process, it's not uncommon to prolong things while making decisions. It's important that you have ample time to think things through when making crucial decisions that may possibly affect you, your family and your business for years to come.
Use these ten tips to select a Miami, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney who will represent you with utmost respect while considering all the details and circumstances related to your case. You only get one shot at finding the right Miami criminal lawyer!