Although no one ever hopes they'll need a criminal defense lawyer, the need arises more often than you might imagine. If you live in Indiana - whether in South Bend, Crown Point, Indianapolis, Valparaiso, or any other city or town - it's important to be able to find a good criminal defense attorney in your time of need. But how do you go about assessing the strengths of an attorney? Here are some tips to help you select a lawyer that meets your needs and circumstances.
While laws apply to the entire state, each Indiana county has its own approach to criminal justice. As is true for every state, there is some variation in law enforcement from area to area. Judges, prosecuting attorneys, and probation officers have quite a bit of leeway in how misdemeanor and felony cases are handled. It's important, then, to find a criminal defense lawyer or legal team that has experience in the geographic area where the crime was allegedly committed. Local approaches and procedures can affect the outcome of a case, and a lawyer who is familiar with those differences can work them to his client's advantage.
Type of Criminal Charge
Some criminal defense attorneys specialize in one type of criminal charge, such as crimes involving a weapon, or traffic ticket appeals, or sentence modification. The best criminal defense lawyers, however, have a broad range of experience in a variety of charges - everything from traffic ticket appeals to felony DUI to carjacking to homicide. Make sure that you select a lawyer who has a broad range of experience, and who is a seasoned trial attorney. Hopefully, the case will never go to trial, but if it does, you want to ensure that you have the best representation available to you or your loved one.
Fighting on Behalf of the Client
A good criminal defense lawyer takes a number of steps to ensure that his client obtains the most favorable outcome. The first step is to take the time to examine the facts of the case. An experienced attorney can see where the police investigation may have been weak, where the prosecution's evidence is lacking, and whether or not Indiana law has been correctly applied to the case.
The next step is to take proactive steps on the client's behalf. By offering a client's defense in the best possible light, and by acting in a timely manner, a good attorney can often have charges for the most serious crimes dismissed or lowered in severity. In contrast, the clients of lawyers who wait until the last minute are rarely offered the best outcomes.
Cost and Availability
When looking for an Indiana criminal defense attorney, cost may not be the primary consideration, but it does enter the picture. Some of the best lawyers offer free initial consultations for the specific problem you or your loved one are facing.
When making your choice, you have a right to expect that your lawyer will be available to you when you need him. Facing criminal charges can be frightening, depressing, and stressful. Knowing that your lawyer is available in a timely manner to answer your questions and address your concerns is of primary importance.
With the right Indiana criminal defense attorney, your legal troubles will soon be behind you or your loved one, and you can get back to enjoying life.