Time is critical when you face charges from the state or federal government. However, that fact shouldn’t deter you from asking questions. When years of your life could be on the line, due diligence is a necessity.
So, what Should You Ask a Prince William County Criminal Defense Attorney, and how do you know you found one that fits your needs?
Asking questions like these will give you answers to critical questions anyone in this position needs answered. Furthermore, we can connect you with a Virginia criminal defense lawyer once you feel confident of your needs.
What Should You Ask a Prince William County Criminal Defense Attorney?
The list below will help, but you will want to write down some questions that are specific to your needs. That being the case, this guide should help you identify other issues to address. Consider grabbing a notepad to create your list for a Virginia criminal defense attorney while reading.
Have You Handled a Similar Case in the Past?
It’s possible that the attorney you meet will have many experiences defending the charges you face. For example, they may spend most of their time handling DUI cases.
Having a Virginia criminal lawyer who understands the real-world implications is significant. Sometimes, they will even know the judge and prosecutor overseeing the case. Understanding a local jurist and their typical approach can be tremendously helpful for gauging your options.
Who Will Handle My Case?
Optimally, the attorney you speak to at the law firm during a consultation will become your legal representative. In reality, their current caseload (among other factors) may prevent them from doing the heavy lifting. This expectation should be clear from the outset of your relationship.
Can You Refer Me to Three Previous Clients?
If you’ve spent time job hunting, you know that references are often what can get you hired. Why shouldn’t you do the same?
Speaking to a previous client will help you understand the realities of their representation. You’re more likely to have a positive experience when you know how they approach aspects like:
- Communication style, skills, and response times
- Ability to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor or judge
- Loyalty to their client and the zealousness of their defense
- Willingness to offer a flexible payment option
How Long Do You Think It Will Take to Resolve My Case?
There is a practical reason to ask a Prince William County criminal defense attorney this question. Primarily, you need to understand how to respond to the steps ahead. A clear-eyed knowledge of what happens next allows you to plan for financing, childcare, etc.
What Do You See Happening in My Case?
The purpose of asking this question shouldn’t be to create expectations. No attorney can be 100% certain of the outcome for a criminal case. While they have an educated and informed opinion, there are factors beyond anyone’s control. This fact especially applies if you wind up going to trial.
The focus should be on deciding if the prospective lawyer’s approach matches your wants and needs. For example, do you feel they’re recommending a plea bargain because it’s the best option or to get through the case quickly?
What Are the Odds of a Plea Deal?
A National Center for State Courts study found that less than 1% of misdemeanor cases go to a jury trial. For felonies, this statistic improves to a meager 2%. Therefore, discussing a plea deal should be a high priority.
The American Bar Association asserts that plea bargaining is common for several well-established reasons. You can avoid expensive fees and the uncertain outcome of a trial. For the state, prosecutors can spend time and resources on other cases, and the court system isn’t overburdened. By hiring an attorney who understands the available leverage, you may sign a deal that you find acceptable.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
Each law firm you approach will certainly have hourly rates to consider. But, even more importantly, they can have different billing practices. A clear understanding of the arrangement is obviously critical to your final hiring decision.
What Do You Expect of Me During a Trial?
In many cases, your primary concern becomes staying quiet and letting your attorney speak for you. But, that doesn’t mean you get to avoid putting any effort into your defense.
It is in your best interests to share as much as possible with a Prince William County commonwealth attorney. The more you can provide, the less they may need to engage with a private investigator on your behalf.
What Are the Consequences of a Guilty Conviction?
The difference between sentencing guidelines and your circumstances can vary in critical ways. For instance, having a clean criminal record could reduce or eliminate a prison sentence. Your Virginia criminal attorney can better assess what they can pursue after a consultation.
Work With an Experienced Prince William County Criminal Defense Attorney
Do you feel more confident about what you should ask a Prince William County criminal attorney? Do you want a direct connection to a highly-qualified legal counselor in your area?