One of the top questions Bill Byrnes of Byrnes Law Firm receives is “How do I find the best criminal lawyer in St. Louis?” While Byrnes Law Firm is available to provide legal representation and advice, we’ve assembled the top five traits you should look for in a criminal lawyer. Finding an attorney that is experienced and qualified to handle your type of case will be your best option in having your charges dropped, or being fairly represented in court.
#1. Go with experience. When it comes to successfully fighting criminal charges, the single most important deciding factor will likely come down to how experienced your attorney is. An experienced criminal lawyer will know the ins and outs of the criminal justice system, as well as the politics that go on between prosecutors and judges.
As mentioned on the FindLaw® website, experience can also translate to having valuable working relationships with prosecutors. This allows negotiations to take place which may help you to get a desirable plea bargain in your case. A plea bargain is essentially a deal worked out between the defense and prosecution that often revolves around having a sentence reduced, or some of the more major charges being dismissed.
#2. Find an attorney who will listen. As you research the many criminal lawyers out there, you'll want to find an attorney who is personable and will take the time to discuss all the details of the case. Sometimes, a seemingly minor detail can completely change the outcome of a criminal law case. Therefore, choosing an attorney that listens to clients is second only to the years of relevant experience they have representing clients in court.
During your initial consultation, pay attention to what the attorney is saying. Are they explaining the details of your case in a way you comprehend, or does it sound like they are using a bunch of legal jargon that they know you don’t understand?
#3. Find a lawyer you can trust. The duration of your initial consultation will likely be brief. You should view this time as a way to get a feel for how they conduct themselves and who they are as a person. You may have to “go with your gut” in deciding if this is a person you can trust to represent you. If you get the sense that a particular attorney seems untrustworthy, it is likely the judge, prosecutor, and jurors will feel the same way.
Go online and research potential defense attorneys. Narrow down your list of potential criminal lawyers by reading online reviews. You may also discover news articles about cases similar to your own.
A good defense attorney will not fill you with false hope, but provide you with a realistic view of how the case is likely to unfold.
#4. Has the lawyer represented similar cases? Ask the lawyer what percentage of their practice is devoted to cases similar to your own. For example, if you are charged with stealing, ask the attorney what percentage of their experience involves theft cases. You can take this one step further by asking what percentage of these cases have been dismissed and/or defendants acquitted?
#5. Weigh the costs. Depending on the severity of the charges against you (and your personal finances), you can either choose to be represented by a private attorney or public defender. In most instances, going with a private attorney is the most desirable option. That’s not to say that — like private attorneys — there aren’t good public defenders out there. But, if you do choose a public defender, you will be greatly limited in choosing who represents you in court, and how determined they may be in pursuing your interests.
As a highly regarded criminal law in St. Louis, Byrnes Law Firm has decades of experience in representing clients across numerous types of criminal offenses. Before you call us to schedule a free consultation, we invite you to go online and read through our Google reviews.