The best criminal defense lawyers, whether it’s in Albany, Clifton Park, Saratoga, Plattsburgh or anywhere else near you, have certain qualities that a client should always look for.
- Experience. The best criminal defense lawyer has criminal law experience, not just experience. It’s important to choose a lawyer who has specific experience working in the criminal justice system which includes conducting hearings and handling trials. It’s not advisable to get a lawyer who dabbles in criminal work to handle your criminal case.
- Always Available. The best criminal defense attorney is always available. Many arrests happen at night after normal business hours, on weekends or holidays. Police are known to attempt to speak with, locate and make arrests outside of normal business hours when many lawyers are unavailable. Your lawyer needs to be available 24/7 in the event something happens outside of normal business hours.
- Communication with Clients.The best criminal lawyer will communicate clearly with the client. Clients need to know and understand the process of the case, what he/she is facing in terms of punishment, what the likelihood of success is at a trial and what can be done to limit the punishment. Importantly, you need a lawyer who knows how to review a case to see if there are any available defenses for you. A lawyer needs to share and review case information with the client as it becomes available so a client is fully informed and equipped to make the best decision about how to proceed.
- Presumption of Innocence. The best criminal lawyer requires the prosecutor meet their burden of proof by revealing the evidence that will overcome your presumption of innocence. Because you are presumed innocent until there is sufficient evidence to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the best criminal lawyer always presumes innocence until there is evidence otherwise.
- Gather all of the Facts. The best criminal lawyer meets with the client and listens to what happened. Despite what law enforcement says, there is always more to the story. The best criminal attorneys get the details and spend time with you to understand all the facts and circumstances of your case.
- Use a Mock Jury. The best criminal lawyers present the case to a mock jury before a trial. Although mock juries are not necessary for every case, and can add costs, for the cases that are going to trial, it’s important to learn from mock juries how the case should be framed for the best chance of success at trial.
- Find Creative Solutions. The best criminal lawyers try to find creative solutions to resolve cases. It is always important to try and find unique and creative ways to negotiate a case if that’s the best option for the client. The best criminal lawyer works tirelessly to help resolve the case if that is in the client’s best interests.
- Offer Treatment Options. Sometimes good people make bad choices or have issues in their lives that impact their decisions. It’s important for the criminal lawyer to try and get to the heart of why a person is charged with a crime. Is there a drug or alcohol problem; is there an underlying mental illness, is there a gambling addiction… the best criminal lawyers get to the root of the problem and offer guidance for treatment options for the client.
- Devote the Time. The best criminal lawyer examines all aspects of the case to find any legal or factual challenges to the charges. This takes time. The best lawyers devote the time to defending the client’s case.
- Respected by Peers. The best criminal lawyers are respected by their peers. Is your lawyer a “Super Lawyer” and or a “Best Lawyer”? Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers honor the best in the business as voted by other lawyers. It’s reassuring to know others think your lawyer makes the grade.
- Respected by Clients. The best criminal lawyers are respected by their former clients. Take a look at AVVO. See what your lawyer lists as his/her practice areas and see what clients say about him or her. Other places to look include Google reviews and Facebook to name a few.
Answering the question, “Who is the best criminal defense attorney?” is not easy. All lawyers go to law school, pass the bar, get admitted to practice law in court and handle cases. The best of the best have certain characteristics and do certain things that will lead to the best possible outcome for the client. You deserve the best criminal lawyer to fight for you.