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Five Things You Need to Consider When Choosing a Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are two kinds of law — civil and criminal. Civil law deals with disputes between private citizens over money or property; these disagreements are usually resolved through lawsuits, mediation, money damages and court orders. Criminal law, on the other hand, involves the power of the state to impose incarceration, fines, and other restrictions on a person’s liberty.

When you need to defend yourself against the overwhelming resources of the state, you want a defense attorney at your side to help you defend your rights and preserve your freedom.

How do you find a criminal defense attorney?

There are a number of ways to select a criminal defense attorney. Picking an attorney out of the Yellow Pages probably won’t find you the level of expertise and ethics that you need or want. Consider these five guidelines:

  • How long has the attorney been in practice? Has your candidate just graduated from law school or started a practice, or is this someone who has been in practice for a decade or more?
  • What percentage of the attorney’s practice is criminal defense? Does your candidate handle primarily civil cases with only some criminal cases, or is this someone who handles almost nothing but criminal defense?
  • Is the attorney Martindale-Hubbell® rated? Peer review ratings by Martindale-Hubbell®, the most preeminent attorney rating system in the United States, is indicative of a practitioner who adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards.  The AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 rating is the highest.
  • Attorney hometown location. Is your candidate someone who practices in the jurisdiction where your case is being prosecuted? Is this person knowledgeable about the courts, the court processes, the police officers, police procedures and how the prosecutor charges and negotiates cases?
  • Attorney costs. Law is a field where you get what you pay for, and a “bargain basement” attorney from a “mill” is more interested in generating a high volume of fees from a high turnover than executing a quality defense. Talk to the lawyer about costs and how they can be financed.

If you are facing criminal investigation or charges in Berks County, Pennsylvania, one of the most dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorneys is only a phone call away.

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